Calls to scrap Sabah cabotage policy

Kuala Lumpur: The cabotage policy in Sabah has been attacked by local businessmen who claim it is responsible for far higher prices for standard goods.

Sabah United Chinese Chamber of Commerce (SUCCC) president Datuk Seri Gan Sau Wah called for cabotage to be scrapped.

"It is the main reason for the prices of goods in Sabah being 30% higher than in Semenajung," he said in his speech at the 68th Association Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (ACCCIM) in Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa, Saturday.

Under the 30-year old policy only Malaysian-flagged ships are allowed to transport locally-manufactured goods from the peninsula to Sabah.

This means probably less than 200 containers a month may be coming into the state.

After numerous calls, the Federal Government finally agreed in 2009 to liberalise the cabotage policy for containerised transhipment cargoes for sectors between Sepanggar, Bintulu, Kuching and Tanjung Pelepas and vice-versa.

But this was only partially or selective liberalisation since foreign ships carrying containers meant for Sabah still have to go to Port Klang before being re-directed to the port in Sabah.  [30/06/14]

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