Saturday, August 13

Abdul Karim echoes Kitingan’s call for return of departure levy to Sabah, Sarawak, ups the ante to 50 per cent


Abdul Karim speaking to the media after the press conference.

KUCHING: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Hamzah supports Sabah’s Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) president Jeffrey Kitingan’s call for some of the revenue collected from the departure levy to be returned to the state.

In a report published on Free Malaysia Today yesterday, Jeffrey had challenged Sabahan ministers and deputy ministers in the federal cabinet to help Sabah reclaim at least 40 per cent of the tax collected from the departure levy which came into effect Sept 1, but Abdul Karim opined that at least 50 per cent should be given back.

“I fully agree that there must be a big component to be given back. Before this, 50 per cent of tourism tax was given back to Sabah and Sarawak. Rightly, Jeffrey should not just ask for 40 per cent, but should ask for 50 per cent (to be given back).

“If they can give us 50 per cent back from the tourism tax, they should also give us 50 per cent back from the departure levy,” Abdul Karim said when met by reporters after attending a press conference for the Tun Hanif Omar 2019 and Sports Excel/Milo/NSAM 2nd Malaysian Junior Shooting Championships at the Sarawak Shooting Range here earlier today.

He also opined that state ministers and deputy ministers in the federal Cabinet should be fighting harder for the refund.

“We have people like the Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Chong Chieng Jen in the Cabinet, and he has uttered in the Dewan Rakyat and Dewan Undangan Negeri before the last general election about the 50 per cent tourism tax to be returned to the state.

“He should be fighting for this as the (deputy) minister looking after domestic trade and telling Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng about this 50 per cent,” he added.

From Sept 1 onward, anyone leaving Malaysia for countries in the ASEAN region will be charged RM8 for flights in economy class and RM50 for other classes.

For flights to countries outside the region, those travelling in economy class will be charged RM20, while those in other classes will have to fork out RM150.

This levy will be charged on top of a passenger service charge or airport tax, which is RM35 for flights to ASEAN regions and RM73 for non-ASEAN region flights.