Malaysia willing to look into Cabotage Policy
"We will see whether we can review this (Cabotage Policy) so that you can export directly from Sabah ... it makes sense, but let me see whether there are other implications," Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in his speech during a luncheon with Sabah Chinese community leaders in Kota Kinabalu yesterday.
The business community in Sabah, including the Federation of Sabah Manufacturers, had called for the policy to be liberalised or scrapped as it did not benefit the domestic shipping lines.
Under the Cabotage Policy implemented on January 1 1980, domestic trading between two domestic ports can only use the services of local shipping lines in order to reduce prices of consumer goods.
Last Friday, Deputy Minister of Transport Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the increase in prices of consumer goods was due to several factors including excessive profiteering by certain groups, and inefficient loading and unloading services at ports.
He said the National Shipping Policy, which gave priority to domestic shipping services, was actually to protect the nation in the long run.
If the government allows foreign shipping lines to dominate or control the country's transportation system, "our local shipping companies will go bankrupt and eventually the nation will have to depend on foreigners forever", he said.
Abdul Rahim said many shipping companies that had received incentives under the National Shipping Policy were those from Sabah and Sarawak such as Johan Shipping, Hubline, Shin Yang and Chong Fui Shipping.