STATE governments will now get half of every RM10 collected from the tourism tax, says Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz.The Tourism and Culture Minister said the funds could be used to further promote the tourism sector in their states.“The distribution of this tourism tax will be done in a just manner, based on the percentage collected by the states,” said Nazri in answering a question by Anthony Loke (DAP-Seremban) in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.Currently, RM1 from the tax collected, per room per night, is returned to the state governments for the purpose of promoting tourism.To another question on the distribution mechanism, Nazri said the money would be given to the state governments every three months.
“If it is done yearly, then the funds cannot be spent for that year, so the Customs Department has agreed to send the money to the Finance Ministry every three months for faster distribution to the states,” said Nazri. On a related matter raised earlier, Nazri said the Government has collected RM39,975,634 in tourism tax from Sept 1 to Dec 31 last year. Out of that, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah, Penang, Pahang and Johor were among the highest contributors to the tax since it was introduced last September.Kuala Lumpur contributed the highest tax at RM16,625,258, followed by Sabah (RM4,530,628), Penang (RM3,881,655), Pahang (RM3,473,803) and Johor (RM2,716,739). Nazri also said that the introduction of the tourism tax has not affected the industry, adding that such a tax was a common practice worldwide.-STAR