Tourism tax issue to be decided on Thursday: Sarawak CM

PETALING JAYA: An official announcement regarding the Tourism Tax (TTx) will be made following a state cabinet meeting on Thursday, said Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the Sungai Tujuh Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Miri, yesterday, he said the matter will be deliberated during the meeting.

"I have met the Prime Minister and will brief the cabinet members during Thursday's meeting. Please be patient until the announcement," he said.

Abang Johari had met Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak at Putra Perdana to discuss the matter.

The meeting had also involved settling the initial dispute between Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz and Sarawak's state minister in charge of Tourism Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah over the introduction of a new tourism tax, which Abdul Karim wanted reviewed.

The tax will be introduced on July 1.

The TTx is regulated by the Finance Ministry and the Customs Department.

The tax is charged at a specific rate on tourists staying at any accommodation premises provided by an operator of accommodation premises where it has been registered under subsection 31C (1) Tourism Industry Act 1992.

The TTx rate is fixed at RM20 per room per night (five-star), RM10 per room per night (four-star), RM5 per room per night (one-, two- and three-star), RM2.50 per room per night (one, two, and three Orchid) and RM2.50 per room per night (non-rated accommodation premises).

However, tax exemption is available for "homestays" registered with Ministry of Tourism and Culture (Motac), "kampung stays" registered with Motac, accommodation premises established and maintained by religious institutions, not for commercial purposes or accommodation premises with less than 10 rooms.

The TTx is mandatory for both local and international tourist visiting any place in Malaysia for purposes including recreation or holiday, culture, religion, visiting friends or relatives, sports, business, meetings, conferences, seminars or conventions, studies or research, any other purpose which is not related to an occupation that is remunerated from the place visited.