KUALA LUMPUR: The cabotage policy must be abolished as domestic shipping companies refuse to grow after almost 30 years of exclusive “presidential” treatment.
This call was made by the Sabah DAP organising secretary Junz Wong in response to the statement of the Sabah Bumiputera Chamber of Commerce (SBCC) treasurer Roselan Johar Mohamed who insisted that the cabotage policy must not be abolished.
Roselan had claimed that the abolishment of the cabotage policy as a solution to address the disparity in prices of goods between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah and Sarawak might do more harm than good to the shipping industry.
Said Junz, “There is nothing wrong in allowing foreign shipping companies to come in when domestic shipping companies refuse to grow after almost 30 years though given various incentives.”
“We want to protect Sabahans’ welfare and interests by removing protection to the protected shipping industry.
“Why should the government allow these protected shipping companies to continue earning profits at the expense of all Sabahans?” asked Junz.
Junz said that after all these billions of ringgit in preferential treatment, most domestic shipping companies have chosen to “outsource” the volume to foreign ships, or hire more foreign sailors, or even in the case of MISC choosing to get out of the containerised cargo business.
“Roselan conveniently left out this part or was he not well informed ?
Junz, who is also the Likas state assemblyman claimed that the price disparity arises because of the monopolistic pricing behaviour of these companies with exclusive control of the domestic sea trade.
“This is more so when Sabah doesn’t have much to export, but rather relies heavily on imports. The higher shipping costs (most importers are charged the return leg of the container as well due to lack of exports) are invariably passed on to consumers.
“Removing the cabotage policy will no doubt increase competition, and ensure fairer pricing for all and most importantly restore justice to Sabah and Sarawak,” Junz said.
~ Free Malaysia Today