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Sarawak, Sabah negotiate with Putrajaya over tourism control

Publish date: Sat, 15 Jun 2024, 09:14 PM

KUCHING: Sarawak and Sabah are discussing with Putrajaya to determine how much control the federal Tourism, Arts, and Culture Ministry (Motac) will relinquish over tourism matters in the two Borneo territories.

This follows the transfer of tourism from the federal list to the concurrent list in the federal constitution, said Sarawak's Minister of Tourism, Creative Industry, and Performing Arts Datuk Seri Abdul Karim Hamzah.

"It's still being negotiated. At preliminary discussions," he told reporters after giving a personal guided tour of the Borneo Cultures Museum to Yang DiPertua Negeri Tun Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar this afternoon.

"The federal Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture has to bear in mind that tourism should have been under the residual list until the federal government surreptitiously moved it to the federal list," he said.

Sarawak had for years alleged the federal government moved it in the early 1990s.

"If it is under the residual list, it would have been totally a state matter. But we (Sarawak and Sabah) have decided to make a compromise and place it under the concurrent list.

Karim hinted one area under discussion is on licensing of tourist guides and agents for Sarawak-Malaysia My Second Home (S-MM2H).

Currently, Motac issues nearly all licenses and permits in the tourism industry in both Sabah and Sarawak.

The decision to move tourism from the federal list to the state list was made at last month's Malaysia Agreement 1963 Implementation Action Council Technical Committee meeting.

"Nobody saw the importance of tourism in 1963," Karim said.

"Tourism was not even discussed. It was not even on the federal list.

"Neither was it in the state list nor the concurrent list. If it is not on the federal, state or concurrent list, then it should be in the residual list.

Karim said if it is in the residual list, it becomes a state matter.

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