Cabotage policy cannot be repealed - 29 September 2015

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

KOTA KINABALU: The Cabotage policy cannot be repealed as it is our country’s sovereign right to have it under the Malaysian Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

Liow said the Cabotage policy could not be revoked under Section 65KA (1) of the ordinance which stipulated that ‘no ship other than a Malaysian ship may engage in domestic shipping’.

However, he disclosed that the minister has the right to further liberalize or grant certain exemptions.

In fact, Liow said many exemptions have been given to allow vessels from Port Klang to come to Sepanggar Port, or from Johor to Sabah in the past.

“We have approved that, there is no problem with all the exemptions.”

As the Transport Minister, Liow said he would look into the request of all the shipping lines.

He said this at a press conference after officiating at the MCA Sabah State Convention 2015 at Sabah Trade Centre here yesterday.

Liow, who is also MCA president, added the Cabotage policy was a liberalized policy.

“Somebody thought that the Cabotage policy is so rigid that it could not give leeway to transporters to transport goods to Sabah. As the Minister of Transport, I am working closely with transporters, vessels and shipping lines on how to reduce the cost so that we can address the cost of living in Sabah,” he said.

On another note, Liow stressed that the higher cost of goods in Sabah was due to the cost of transport, efficiency of port and smaller trade volumes compared to Peninsular Malaysia, rather than the impact of the Cabotage policy.

“I’d like to explain to the people in Sabah that the cost of living that is higher compared to Semenanjung (West Malaysia) is not due to the Cabotage policy.”

As such, he said the Ministry of Transport would work together with the State Government on the proposed development projects at Sepanggar Port to enhance the efficiency of the port.

“I am passionate about this. I am concerned about this. I hope I can help to further reduce the burden on the people in Sabah. This is the reason I fully support the upgrading of Sepanggar Port. I fully support the port to be more efficient and competitive to reduce the cost of transportation for all the goods.”

On the other hand, Liow congratulated the State Government as the Federal Government has kept its promise to empower the State.

“We fully support the action taken by the Prime Minister and steps taken by the State Government to fully empower the State to ensure projects are expedited, at the same time, issues are being resolved in a speedy manner.”

He also said that MCA was more united now and was following through its transformation plan, with a focus on economic development and education agenda.

Also present were Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department cum MCA deputy president Datuk Dr Wee Ka Siong; International Trade and Industry Minister II cum MCA secretary general Dato’ Seri Ong Ka Chuan; Deputy Finance Minister cum MCA vice president Datuk Chua Tee Yong; Deputy Education Minister cum MCA Youth chairman Senator Chong Sin Woon; MCA national organizing secretary, Senator Datuk Yoo Wei How; MCA Sabah advisor Datuk Paul Kong; Sabah MCA secretary Dato’ Chew Kok Woh; and Penampang MCA chairman Datuk Francis Goh.