The Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents SATTA urged the Federal Government to immediately take action and release the RM12.7 million in 2018 tourism tax that is due to be given to the State Government.
The President to SATTA Datuk Seri Winston Liaw said he was informed by the Sabah Tourism Board last month that the sum had yet to be given to the State and by now the entire thing should have processed.
Satta also said it supports Deputy Chief Minister cum Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew’s request to the Federal Government for licensing autonomy to be granted to Sabah.
Earlier, Christina was reported as requesting for devolution of power from the Federal Government through Motac for the State to autonomously approve and issue five types of tourism licences. They are the entry and exit licence for tourism agents, licence for tourist guides, licence for tourism vehicles, licence to manage tourism training schools and ticket licensing. Winston said the State is fully capable of managing tourism-related licensing on its own.
He addressed at a press conference in his office at Api Api Centre, Tuesday saying “We were supposed to receive 50 per cent of the tax which is about RM12.7million. We began to collect the tourism tax in September 2018 at RM10 per room and per night. In only four months, we were the highest. We push so much on Sabah’s tourism that we are ranked number one in Malaysia in terms of tourism tax, but where is the money? This is our concern”.
“We cannot accept this holding of funds which belong to us. Otherwise we are not able to develop our tourism industry,” he said, adding that the funds are needed for promotional activities as well as infrastructure repair work. Dragging on will only have negative effects,”.
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