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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Tourist Tax Shows 1-Country 2-System Needed

KOTA KINABALU - “While the legality of tourism tax is debatable, the desperate and unilateral imposition by the federal government without any objection so far from the Sabah government only and the arrogant response of the federal Tourism Minister against the Sarawak Tourism Minister only affirms the high-handedness and authoritarian rule by Umno-BN and the marginalization of Sabah and Sarawak,” said Rubbin Guribah, Parti Solidariti Tanah Airku (STAR) Tourism Bureau Chief cum Kadamaian Division Chief, in opposing the tourism tax.

Again, the federal government in Putrajaya and the Malayan Tourism Minister have shown their true colours and their unfair and colonial master mentality in imposing the tourism tax in Sabah without first consulting the Sabah and Sarawak government.   If they have consulted the Sabah government, then the Sabah Cabinet should resign for allowing it to happen.

While tourism is only the third biggest contributor to the Sabah economy, it is the biggest contributor in terms of returns and benefits to more Sabahans than petroleum or oil palm.  In 2016, Sabah recorded 3.43 million tourist arrivals contributing RM7.25 billion to the Sabah economy.

Thus, the tourism tax will have a profound effect on the tourism industry in Sabah.   The tourism industry, which while enjoying a good run, had previously been affected by the security problems caused by cross-border kidnappings and a high crime rate.  The latter is attributable partly to the presence of a high illegal immigrant population often with dubious ICs issued by the Umno-led federal government.

As many Sabahans are beneficiaries of the tourism trade, they will be badly affected by any negative consequences caused by the tourism tax.  It will in turn cause adverse consequences to the Sabah economy.

The move to impose the tourism tax also shows how desperate the federal government needs revenues to cover up their often mis-management of the federal treasury.  It is not just only the IMDB issue but also from corruption as can be seen from the recent arrests and court cases and excessive spending.

In so doing, the federal government is burdening the people especially in Sabah who rely heavily on the tourist dollar.

Where is the voice of the Sabah government and the MPs from Sabah?

Their silence only affirms the general belief that they cannot be relied on to protect Sabah and Sabahans.

Even more so, it is imperative that Sabah adopt the 1-Federation 2-Systems of government as advocated by STAR and Gabungan Sabah.  The federal government can impose the tourist tax in Malaya and should spare Sabahans as Sabah can be exempted under the 1-Federation 2-Systems.

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