: The Sabah state government hoped the federal government will reconsider the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the cost of flights involving Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula in efforts to enhance national integration.
Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun said the GST charge for air travel was affecting local tourism, which played a big role in creating integration among the people.
In fact, he said two-thirds of tourist arrivals to the state were locals, described as of great importance to the development and empowerment of Sabah's tourism.
"The fare has increased six per cent, at the airport another six per cent tax is imposed. I hope the effect (to the tourism sector) is not prolonged. The government has to reconsider GST on the cost of airfare for travel from the peninsula to Sabah, Sarawak, not only for tourists but enhance integration ties among Malaysians.
"I myself have written a letter to the parties concerned on this matter to encourage the people to travel. It will be the biggest contribution towards national integration," he told reporters after attending Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Domestic Tourism Promotion B2B Session here today.
Masidi also said Sabah was still safe despite being marred by several incidents, including another kidnapping case recently.
Asked on efforts to restore public confidence, especially tourists to the state, he said the state government was taking a frank approach and provided information in a transparent manner on any public queries made.
Also present were Matta president Hamzah Rahmat, Matta organising chairman and inbound vice president Datuk K.L Tan and Tourism Malaysia director-general Datuk Mirza Mohammad Taiyab.