Yong: Shock that Sabah Tourism Minister cum MP not aware of Departure Tax
Kota Kinabalu, Tuesday, 6 August, 2019
I am shocked and utterly disappointed that our Sabah Minister in charge of tourism said she was not aware of the departure tax to be imposed on Malaysian travellers leaving the country with effect from next month.
This is because she is also a Member of Parliament. The departure tax was announced by the federal finance minister at Parliament last November 2018 where the proposed new tax was debated with extensive media coverage. In Parliament, Sarawak MPs had sought clarifications about the Sarawak over land transport to Brunei.
The whole of Malaysia knew about the proposed new departure tax but our Sabah minister did not know. This is a scandal of unprecedented proportions.
As a deputy chief minister with a full team of staff, the Sabah Minister of Tourism has no reason to not know about the departure tax. The minister has displayed ignorance of something that is going to be a burden on the people imposed by her own political party. This is worse than her denial of knowledge of the sudden sacking of the chief executive of the Sabah Tourism Board earlier this year.
Now that the departure tax will be effective and will burden Malaysian travellers, all that the Sabah tourism Minister has to say is that she also wants the Sabah government to have a share of the new tax.
Instead of asking for 50% of the departure tax, the Minister, who is also an MP, should have objected to the new tax in the first place because the new tax is an additional burden to Malaysians. Malaysians already have to bear new taxes like SODA tax, Digital Tax, SST, Imported Service Tax (B2B), Stamp Duty increase and Real Property Gains Tax increase. This is the worst time to impose a another new tax on the people.
Datuk Yong Teck Lee
Ex-Chief Minister, ex-MP