Sarawak withdraws from the Malaysian Tourism Board over new tourism tax

Published on : Tuesday, June 13, 2017

tourism malaysiaSarawak has withdrawn from the Malaysian Tourism Board, increasing a sudden spat between the state and federal governments over a new tourism tax set to begin next month.

According to the chief minister’s office, “The state government deems that the participation of its representatives in Tourism Malaysia is not necessary as this is duplicating the role and functions of the Sarawak Tourism Promotion Board.”

The tax on accommodation is set to be charged nationwide from July 1, at between RM2.50 and RM20 (between 80 Singapore cents and S$6.50) per room per night depending on the star-rating of the hotel. Proceeds from the tax will be reinvested into the tourism industry.

Sarawak Tourism Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah had previously called for the tax to be postponed in Sabah and Sarawak, saying that the federal government should respect the Malaysia Agreement 1963 when deciding on such matters. Under the 1963 agreement, Sabah and Sarawak formed Malaysia with Malaya and Singapore on the understanding that they were equal partners with self-government in certain areas.

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