Thursday, 28 April 2011

Taxing

Malacca has announced a 5 per cent "heritage levy" on tourists and visitors staying at the state's hotels and other lodgings, from 1 September this year. Once imposed, the state expects to collect an additional RM12 million annually.

Given the development hijinks that have taken place under the current Chief Minister's tenure, one doubts if that RM12 million would ever be channelled correctly.

Will some of it be used to reward aspiring cig-quitters? All that smoke and cigarette butts aren't just unsightly but unhealthy as well, and that can't be good for tourism.

Will the money end up funding the accidental felling of centuries-old trees within heritage buffer zones?

Will part of it be spent in the name of science, because G*d allegedly said so?

Will part of it also be used for the maintenance of the so-called Arab City?

Why shouldn't some of the 6 percent tax be channelled back to heritage conservation efforts in Malacca? Why does it look like the state is shouldering the entire burden of keeping its heritage intact?

Most of all, will tourists and visitors pay a total of 21 per cent in taxes and service charges to stay in the hotels of what can be said to be a developing Disneyland-style caricature of Malaysia's most historic state?

We'll be given assurances, I'm sure. But the picture of that tree stump says something else.

After the last time I was there, I'd never... well, of course I suspect that there'd be no end to the nonsense going on in Malacca. Not even if they replaced the Chief Minister.

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