KOTA KINABALU: A Democratic Action Party (DAP) lawmaker today slammed Datuk Seri Winston Liaw, chairman of the Sabah Association of Tour & Travel Agents (SATTA) for claiming that Sabah did not receive the 50% of the tourism tax collected from Sabah in 2018.
Chang Foong Hing, the Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu, in a statement issued in parliament today, said the 2018 payment was widely publicised and expressed his disappointed at the baseless accusation.
Chan was referring to the statement by Liaw that the federal government had failed to pay to the state government 50% of the tourism tax collected from Sabah in 2018 which was published prominently in Sin Chew Daily.
Chan, who is also Sabah DAP Secretary, queried as to which unit of the Sabah Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment did Liaw obtain this information from.
“If indeed had he gotten the information from the ministry then the best person to verify the accuracy of the information is Datuk Christina Liew who is the Minister herself.
“I have met with Liew in parliament this morning (Wednesday), and she had personally confirmed to me that Sabah government had in March this year received the 50% tourism tax for 2018,” said Chan.
Chan also added that in fact, Liew had confirmed the matter during the question and answer session of the Sabah State Assembly in April.
Liew, who was also the Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah, explained that the 50% tourism tax totalling RM12.66 million had been given to Sabah by the federal government and that the sum had not been remitted to Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Environment, but directly to the state treasury.
Chan further mentioned that he had personally checked with the federal Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng on the matter and received a similar confirmation that payment had been released back in March.
“In view of the same, isn’t Liaw clearly misleading? He should have had verified such information before speaking,” said Chan.
Chan said that as the chairman of SATTA, it is totally irresponsible for him to have made such misleading remarks, spread false news, and made false allegations against the federal government.
“It has also seriously affected the credibility of the SATTA in the eyes of the federal government,” Chan said.
“I would like to hereby urge Datuk Seri Liaw to show courage and to admit his mistakes, retract his remarks and to apologize publicly.”