‘Sabah anticipated cabotage policy move’
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah has anticipated the exemption of cabotage policy as it moves towards transforming Sapangar Bay Container Port into a transshipment hub like Port Klang.
Industrial Development Minister Datuk Seri Raymond Tan Shu Kiah, yesterday, said the announcement of cabotage policy exemption was proof that the development of the port here was a serious transformation plan.
He stressed that the state government could not establish a transshipment hub in Sabah without doing anything about the cabotage policy.
“We need that announcement so that the people will not be confused, and it’s important.
“Hence, that’s why the government made it clear we are serious about developing the Sapanggar port. Moving towards that development, we have to liberalise the cabotage policy.
“This is something we need to tell the people. We don’t want the people to be confused and consistently arguing about the cabotage,” he said.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced the policy exemption on cargo vessels from ports in Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan beginning June 1.
The exemption would also cover areas of shipments between ports in Sabah as well as between ports in Sarawak and it would not affect services other than freight transport services.
“With this (cabotage exemption) announcement and the direction of the development of Sapangar transshipment hub, we definitely need the support of stakeholders,” said Raymond.
“One important development of this hub is we can now encourage production, especially in the manufacturing sector, regardless of the production volume.
“This will be a big advantage to Sabah as we can start getting our products to be marketed.
“Producers don’t have to worry about not being able to export due to the small volume of products.
“This is what the people have been concerned about,” he added.
Raymond stressed that so long as vessels were coming in and out (of Sabah), the low quantity of products could be transshipped along with other products that could come in from the Philippines, Indonesia or Brunei.
Federation of Sabah Industries (FSI) president Datuk Mohd Basri Gafar said they expected to see a drop in the price of goods, particularly in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, beginning June.
Commending the efforts by Najib, Basri, however, said FSI would first study the details on the cabotage policy exemption before it could respond further.
Bernama general manager Datuk Zulkefli Salleh (right) and editor-in-chief Datuk Zakaria Abdul Wahab at the launch of the celebration at Wisma Bernama, Jalan Tun Razak, yesterday.
Datuk Seri Raymond Tan Shu Kiah