KUCHING: The Sarawak and Sabah state governments should have been consulted on the departure levy before it was introduced, says Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah.
The Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sports Minister said this was because both states had immigration autonomy.
“I have expressed my unhappiness on the introduction of this departure levy.
“It is different if it relates to west Malaysia. But then, we have certain rights.
Karim also said the timing of the levy, which is scheduled to come into effect on Sept 1, was not suitable as the Visit Malaysia Year 2020 campaign had just been launched.
He questioned why the Finance Ministry was so keen to implement the departure levy, even though the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry had requested for a deferment until after Visit Malaysia Year.
“I don’t know why the Finance Ministry is under so much pressure to introduce all kinds of taxes – departure tax, sugar tax.
“Previously, all was well with GST, then they abolished GST and now it seems they have no money, ” he added.
According to the Departure Levy (Rate of Departure Levy) Order 2019, anyone leaving Malaysia for Asean countries would be charged RM8 for flights in economy class and RM50 for other classes.
The charges for flights to countries outside Asean would be RM20 for economy class seats and RM150 for seats in the other classes.