Kota Kinabalu May 10, 2012: Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri said the Cabotage Policy is maintained because it is recognised by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as being of strategic importance to a nation.
He said this when replying to Senator Datuk Maijol Mahap and Senator Pau Chiong Ung in Dewan Negara.
He said when the policy was implemented in 1980, many countries around the world had already been applying it.
He said the Government implemented the policy to develop the nation's domestic shipping sector and also to achieve various objectives, namely:
- - To abolish the country's dependence on foreign vessels which all this while has been contributing to the outflow of the nation's foreign currencies due to huge payment in the form of fraud and insurance payment
- - To develop the nation's shipping sector to enable those involved to become players in the business of shipping either regionally or internationally
- - To develop the shipping sector that is of a strategic dimension to the nation and part of the defence and security system where vessels could be utilised in case of crisis or emergency
However, Abdul Rahim stressed that the policy is very liberal and does not prevent any foreign vessels that wish to berth in the ports in Sabah and Sarawak to bring goods in or out.