Sarawak tourism minister says will respond to SST hike if necessary

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUCHING, March 1 — Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Minister Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah today said his ministry will monitor the impact of the increase to the Sales and Service Tax (SST) on the state’s tourism industry.

He said it is premature for his ministry to assess the increase from 6 to 8 per cent that took effect today.

“Whether the increase is justifiable or not or whether it is a burden or otherwise, we will see how it goes from today and if it is not a burden, then it is good, but if it is a burden, then we will need to see and decide how we can reduce the burden,” he told reporters when announcing the Interstate Junior Golf Tournament here.

However, he said the increase is unavoidable as the government must run the country with funds generated from taxes.

“Of course, initially, the people will make a lot of noises, but after a week or two, they will forget about it,” he said.

Karim expressed hope that those involved in the tourism industry not to take the opportunity of the increase, such as not paying the tax to the government.

“There are some joints that are doing that,” he said.

He urged the tourism industry players to manage the SST properly and make sure that it goes to the federal government’s coffer that will be used to administer the country.

Among the sectors and services affected by the increase in the SST from 6 to 8 per cent are hotel and accommodation, karaoke centres, massage parlours, beer houses/night and private clubs, golf clubs and hire car/charter buses and domestic flights.

In a statement two days ago, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) said that the new rate only focuses on discretionary activities and business-to-business services, and will therefore shield the public from paying higher consumption tax for key essential services such as food and beverage, telecommunications, parking and logistics.