Tourism players told to submit formal requests to Tourism Ministry in relation to SST

Avila Geraldine

KOTA KINABALU: Tourism players have been advised to write to the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry should they have any requests pertaining to the Sales and Services Tax (SST).

Its Minister Datuk Mohamaddin Ketapi said any suggestions should go through the proper channel to ensure that discussions can be conducted by the ministry.

He said this following grouses aired by travel associations insisting that domestic flights should be exempted from the SST.

“This (SST) falls under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry but if there’s any demand to be raised on SST, please write to us. We will discuss and try to find a solution,” said Mohamaddin.

The minister was speaking to reporters after attending the AirAsia Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu inaugural flight welcoming celebration at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) Terminal 1, here, today.

Also present were Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Christina Liew and AirAsia Malaysia chief executive officer Riad Asmat.

On the event, Mohamaddin said the ministry was pleased AirAsia Thailand expended its route into Sabah.

“Thailand is an important market for Malaysia with potential for growth, especially with the interest in travel among the Thais and the range of tourism products in Malaysia that cater to their needs.

“Sabah definitely has a lot of attractive offerings that appeal to Thai tourists. I hope the industry players in both countries will work together with AirAsia Thailand to promote Malaysia and vice versa to ensure the sustainability of this route,” he said.

When asked on the sidelines, Mohamaddin said the ministry supported AirAsia’s plan to move its operations back to KKIA Terminal 2.

“Of course the airline has to discuss (the matter) with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. I think it’s convenient for them because the space here (Terminal 1) for them is limited,” he said.

Meanwhile, Riad said AirAsia has put forward its proposal, stressing that the airline is working closely with the Federal and state government as well as relevant agencies.

At the moment, he said the discussion was still in the preliminary stage and that they expect further discussions on the matter.

“I’m excited about the possibility because it has been very welcoming. It’s for the betterment of the state and not just our operations.

“By year end, we will have nine aircrafts coming. At the moment, there are only 17 bases we share with other airlines.

“So the space is limited and we need certain facilities to be made available for us. We hope to get positive outcome,” he said.

With the establishment of Bangkok-Kota Kinabalu route, AirAsia now connects the state capital to 18 destinations across the region with 332 weekly flights. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd