Fri, 29 Sep 2000

Ridiculous exit tax

I couldn't be more agreeable with Martin R. Jenkins (The Jakarta Post, Sept. 23, 2000) that it is now time to abolish the departure tax. The tax is a burden and it's not healthy.

I was supposed to go to Singapore once a month for a year for training, sponsored by a Singaporean company, but because of the departure tax which is more expensive than my return economy class ticket, my schedule there had been reduced to three times annually. I tried to explain to my sponsoring company about this departure tax policy, but they seemed unable to understand such a peculiar tax which has never been applied in any other countries. Reduced trips to Singapore was a big loss for me and I lost my opportunity to learn more.

A friend of mine who is a Singapore Permanent Resident and works in Singapore must pay the departure tax if he travels Singapore-Jakarta-Singapore more than twice a year because he is exempted from paying the tax only for these two annual trips. This tax limits his movements. He is an Indonesian working abroad and every time he wants to come back to his country he will have to think twice.

It's unreasonable for the Indonesian government to have implemented such tax. It becomes even more unreasonable to have implemented the tax to an Indonesian working abroad and to a foreigner with a temporary residence visa. It's time to abolish the departure tax.

Nobody objects to personal income tax or corporate tax because it's our duty as a citizen to pay tax to our government and such taxes are common in almost every country. But to pay such a ridiculous departure tax is a different case although we can do nothing about it. You pay the tax or you never go abroad.