Hornbill Unleashed

May 23, 2017

CM: Cabotage exemption to facilitate international trade

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:02 AM

Image result for Abang Johari Tun OpengSarawak’s exemption from the cabotage policy which takes effect from June 1 will allow the state to become a trading hub and be able to trade directly with other nations.

Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said cabotage policies are used by nations to consolidate international shipping trade through one port for ease of control as well as for the efficiency of domestic transportation and logistics.

“It is usually envisaged that domestic transportation and logistics is by way of road and rail. In the case of Sarawak which is separated from Port Klang by the sea, the conventional idea of cabotage does not apply simply because there is no efficient transportation between Port Klang and Kuching, for example.

“In the case of Sarawak, which became part of Malaysia not by natural geographical proximity but for political reasons, it is correct for us to pursue Sarawak-centric policies which therefore require that international shipping should be allowed directly into the main port or ports of Sarawak,” he said when winding up his maiden speech as Chief Minister at the 18th State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting yesterday.

Describing the state’s domestic transport and logistics system as “still very basic simply because the volume is small”, Abang Johari said there is a need to build volume to have critical mass for domestic cargo movements in order to enjoy economies of scale and lower costs.

“But it does not help when the cost of goods, due to low volumes, is also being burdened by additional costs that come as a result of the roundabout transportation route that must be followed in pursuit of cabotage.

“With the exemption of Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan from the cabotage policy, I hope to see more international trade directly with each of these three areas as well as between us,” he said, adding that the state will continue to trade with Peninsular Malaysia which will continue to be a major trading partner for Sarawak.

Meanwhile, on the progress of devolution of power efforts, Abang Johari told the august House that negotiations between the state government and federal government have progressed “smoothly and surely.”

“The first phase involved administrative empowerment and resulted in an agreement on 13 points of empowerment. Some have been implemented while others are still being implemented. The second phase concerns constitutional and finance (matters), particularly on the issues of oil exploration, mining and gas, legislation, land and revenue from land, federal and state works, education and labour, and state public service,” he said, noting that priority is being given to financial matters, oil, minerals and gas including distribution of gas and revenue from land.

On the issue of finance, he said it has been agreed that a review be conducted as per the Review of Special Grants under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution and included is the issue of import and excise duties on petroleum products.

“The federal government also agreed that Sarawak has the authority to pass laws on the distribution of gas in Sarawak and the Gas Supply Act (Amendment) 2016 shall not apply to Sarawak,” he added.

Source : The Borneo Post Online



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