All state govts to receive 50% of tourism tax revenue

The tax revenue will only be distributed after the tax revenue accounts for 2018 are finalised, says Lim

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By TMR

All state governments will get 50% share of the tourism tax revenue in the first quarter this year despite outstanding debts owed to the federal government, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

Lim said Putrajaya will still pay Sarawak’s tourism tax revenue although the state owes RM2.5 billion with arrears of RM50 million to the federal government.

“The 50% of the tourism tax revenue has not been distributed to respective state governments, and will only be done after the tax revenue accounts for 2018 are finalised,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Lim said according to the Federal Constitution, the tourism tax is federal revenue and state governments are not entitled to it.

“However, out of respect the federal government has for the states, 50% of the tax revenue will be given to them as announced in Budget 2019 on Nov 2, 2018,” he added.

Lim also expressed regret over remarks made by Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Sarawak Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah on the issue of tourism tax revenue.

On Saturday, Abdul Karim alleged that the federal government owes Sarawak RM2.7 million in tourism tax revenue from the total RM4.6 million tourism tax collected in the state from September 2017.

In response, Lim said Sarawak state government could have written a letter to the ministry for clarification on the tax distribution.

“It’s obvious that Sarawak state government is so eager to defy the federal government that it is willing to make baseless allegations without facts and figures,” Lim said.

Lim added that if Sarawak state government continues to prolong the matter, it would appear that the move would be politically motivated to incite hatred towards the federal government.