THE State Government and the Transport Ministry are working together to find ways to reduce the different pricing of goods between Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia, Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Pairin Kitingan said.
Pairin in reply to Balung assemblyman Datuk Syed Abas Syed Ali yesterday, said that the State Government and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai have had discussions about the matter.reasons
Syed Abas wanted to know why there is still different pricing between the goods in Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia despite the liberalization of the Cabotage Policy.
Pairin who is Infrastructure Development Minister, said that there were many behind the matter and one of them was the cost of transporting the goods from the port to the rural areas in the state.
“As a result of our discussion with the Transport Minister, we will be following up with specific meetings to identify the categories that contribute to the higher cost be it in the transportation sector where lorry associations have mentioned that the matter concerned their road tax.
“So we have to look into the issues one by one to see where we can reduce and we will follow up with a more detailed meeting in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister cum Industrial Development Minister Datuk Raymond Tan Shu Kiat reminded DAP Sri Tanjong assemblyman Chan Foong Hin that the Cabotage Policy was liberalized in 2009.
In reply to Chan’s additional question during the question and answer session at the State Assembly sitting, Tan said the Cabotage police was liberalized on June 3 2009.
“I quote Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat’s statement ‘effective June 3, the Cabotage Policy has been relaxed and foreign vessels are now allowed to carry containerized transhipment goods between ports in the Peninsular and East Malaysia. Sepanggar Port was mentioned in the statement which has been gazetted.
“Following the gazettement, we will develop Sepanggar Port into a transhipment port,” he said when replying to Chan who wanted to know if the State Government will be taking steps to get the Cabotage Policy liberalized.
Earlier Pairin when replying to Chan’s initial question on what steps the government has implemented to develop Sepanggar into a transhipment hub, said that the Sabah Ports Board planned to have this done by 2030.
He added that the Sepanggar Bay Container Port is a specific port that can handle almost 70 per cent of container operations in Sabah.
According to him, a RM200,000 survey on the proposal is being carried out and expected to be completed by this month and the Sabah Ports Board as well as Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd have submitted a new project application under the 11th Malaysia Plan to the Federal Government seeking RM1.5 billion to finance the project.
Initial steps that have and are being implemented at the state level towards this are increasing the port’s Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) capacity annually to 500,000 and this is through expanding the container area by 2.8 hectares.
In the long run, Sepanggar Port will be able to handle 1.2 million TEUs when its wharf is extended by one kilometer and the container area further expanded. The number of container cargo handling machinery like the rubber tired gantry crane will also be increased, he said.
Pairin added that they are now developing and upgrading the Terminal Operating System and this is expected to be completed within 12 months.
“We are also carrying out dredging works to deepen the seabed to 15 metres to allow bigger international vessels to berth in Sepanggar Port,” he added.
Credit To Borneo Post Online