DAP’s Rayer has suggested that the government reinstate Penang’s duty-free status to attract local and foreign tourists.
Former Penang Deputy Chief Minister Dr Ibrahim Saad, one-time political secretary to Anwar Ibrahim, once raised the matter of reinstating Penang’s duty-free status, which was removed about 50 years ago.
Anwar, then Finance Minister, rejected the idea, saying that the reinstatement of Penang’s duty-free status would just benefit the Chinese. It is better they focus on Langkawi instead, which would be of more benefit to the Malays.
Yes, this is the same Anwar Ibrahim whom DAP backs for Prime Minister.
When he speaks to the Chinese and Indians, Anwar sings a different tune to when he speaks to the Malays. DAP leaders such as Rayer should ask the real Anwar to stand up.
Make Penang duty-free island again, says Rayer
(FMT) – A Penang-based MP has suggested that the government reinstate Penang’s duty-free status to attract local and foreign tourists.
Speaking in the Dewan Rakyat today, RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) had asked if the government would proceed with the Pakatan Harapan administration’s decision to make the North Butterworth Container Terminal a free commercial zone (FCZ).
He said Penang has seen a lower number of tourists due to the pandemic, adding that the state was among the main contributors to tax collections annually.
“Recently, many things were announced like the cancellation of the light rail transit, the termination of ferry services, but there has been no announcement on duty-free zones. All these bring bad news to the people of Penang.
“I want to ask if the government will maybe improve on the announcement made by the previous finance minister, to have duty-free zones not just in ports but also make Penang a duty-free island,” he said while debating the Free Zones (Amendment) Bill 2020.
Deputy Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Bakri said the North Butterworth Container Terminal will be declared an FCZ, adding that the legal drafts are being checked by the Dewan Negara. He did not respond to Rayer’s suggestion to make the island into a duty-free zone.
Penang island was a duty-free zone until 1969. The Barisan Nasional government under Najib Razak had said in 2012 that there would be no reinstatement of the status.
Rayer said the end of Penang’s iconic ferry services would also affect the island’s tourism prospects, adding that there were many tourists who visited the state just to get a ride on the open-air ferry.
Rahim told the DAP MP that he should refer the matter to the transport ministry since it was the one behind the decision. RPK