By SHAZNI ONG / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has requested the Sarawak state government to communicate with the federal government for accurate information and actual facts before making any claim, which would prompt a more solid cooperation as pledged by both parties.
Lim reiterated that the Sarawak state government’s claim which stated the federal government’s failure in fulfilling its commitment to disburse the state’s share of the tourism tax revenue is unfounded.
He said in a statement that tourism tax revenue, which has been collected since September 2017 and not paid to the respective states by the previous government, is expected to be disbursed in the first quarter of 2019.
He also disproved Sarawak state government’s declaration that it has settled its debt amounted to RM2.38 billion to the federal government according to schedule, with no outstanding balance.
“According to the federal government’s record as at Dec 31, the balance of Sarawak state government’s debt stood at RM2.43 billion, with an arrears of RM46.5 million,” he said.
The state’s debt and tourism tax revenue issue was sparked after Sarawak’s Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah announced recently that the federal government still owes Sarawak RM2.7 million in tourism tax revenue from the total RM4.6 million tourism tax collected in the state from September 2017.