Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun said while the new tax have merits, the state government felt that more clarity and fine-tuning were needed to ensure both states benefited from it.
“In the spirit of cooperation with Sarawak and consistent with the previous understanding to come up with a joint stand on the tourism tax, Sabah is inviting the Sarawak tourism ministry to discuss and deliberate on some pertinent issues of the tourism act,” Masidi was reported saying in a statement by New Straits Times on its website today.
Masidi said his ministry was entrusted to deliberate on the matter and to report back to Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and the state Cabinet on their findings and proposals.
“The outcome of the discussion and deliberation would then be submitted to the respective chief minister/state cabinet in a form of a draft memorandum to the federal government for its consideration.
“The joint memorandum will be handed by both chief ministers to the prime minister, who is also the finance minister,” Masidi said.
Both Sabah and Sarawak had previously voiced their opposition against the new tax.
Sarawak had also discussed the tourism tax issue at its state Cabinet meeting yesterday.
The Borneo Post reported Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah saying the state accepted the implementation of the tax but wanted its share of tax collected to be channelled directly to the state government.
“This will be a win-win formula, since the allocation will hopefully bring benefit to Sarawak in terms of promoting tourism.
“As long as the tax collection is not for other purposes, such as paying off debts, then it is a good thing,” he was quoted as saying.