PUTRAJAYA, Jan 8 2019 : The allegation of the Sarawak government that the federal government has paid the tourism tax for 2018 to Sabah is untrue because no state has received the revenue to date, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
He said the Sabah government had also denied the state had received 50 per cent of the revenue from tourism.
‘’The Sarawak government will not own up to its mistake and will attack the federal government to sow hatred among the people of Sarawak.
‘’They use lies and falsehoods to achieve their aim. I know this is all in preparation for the state general election due in two years,’’ he told a media conference after a ceremony to hand over a RM25 million allocation under the 2019 Budget for registered religious schools (sekolah pondok), here today.
Yesterday, Sabah deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew denied the allegation of Sarawak Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youth and Sport Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah on Jan 4 that Sabah had received the tourism tax from the federal government.
Lim in his statement on Sunday said the distribution of 50 per cent tourism tax for 2018 to all state governments would be done in the first quarter of this year.
Commenting further, Lim said the period of payment was already quite fast seeing the federal government needed to finalise the tax accounting first.
‘’We receive money from all states and must make a financial statement. Give us a little bit of time,” he said.
Commenting on the issue of the RM16.5 million fund received by MCA at the 13th general election which was said to be from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), Lim urged the party to return the money.
“On behalf of 1MDB, I am asking MCA and also other political parties, we know who they are, return the money to 1MDB,” he said.
Lim said MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong must not wash his hands over the issue only because he was not aware of the fund.
It was reported in October last year that the previous MCA president Tan Sri Dr Chua Soi Lek had openly admitted that former Barisan Nasional (BN) president Datuk Seri Najib Razak had distributed RM470 million to BN component parties in the 2013 general election and MCA was one of the recipients.
Meanwhile, on the Wall Street Journal’s (WSJ) report today over China’s offer to bail out 1MDB in return for agreements involving railway and pipeline projects as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Lim said he was unaware of the issue.
“I have to refer back whether there are any details that are explicitly said. Of course, if this is explicitly said in black and white then it is something that we will pursue,” he said.
According to the report, the previous BN administration had signed a loan from Export-Import Bank of China for US$2.3 billion (RM9.3 billion) in 2016 to fund the construction of two gas pipelines in Malaysia. – Bernama