KOTA KINABALU July 24, 2012: The state government is looking at resolving issues affecting the shipping industry in Sabah, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department Datuk Edward Khoo said.
Among issues that needed to be resolved are the charges imposed on shippers and improving the quality of Sabah Ports Authority’s infrastructure as well as service, Khoo told reporters yesterday.
“This is the reason for this roundtable discussion today which I chair and attended by Sabah Ports general manager Datuk Mayong Omar and his staff as well as representatives from Suria Capital, Sandakan and Tawau Chinese Chambers of Commerce, Kota Kinabalu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, representatives from seven shipping companies in Sabah and representative from the Sabah Shipping Agent Association.
“We will listen to the complaints and explanations today in order to find a win-win situation for all and also to improve the efficiency of Sabah Ports,” he said.
According to Khoo, the roundtable discussion would be held after he, representing MCA and three other Chinese state assemblymen, namely Datuk Teo Chee Kang (LDP), Datuk Edward Yong Oui Fah (PBS) and Au Kam Wah (Gerakan) habr gone down to the ground to hold dialogues with the people.
During the dialogues, they received complaints about the efficiency and charges imposed by Sabah Ports, he said, adding that they had brought the matter up to Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman who directed them to hold a roundtable meeting with all the shipping stakeholders to resolve the issues.
Solutions and proposals during the meeting will be compiled and those that require policy changes will be referred to Musa for further action while those that can be resolved easily will be done so, he said.
When asked about the pertinent issues raised by the people, the Sabah MCA liaison chairman said that one of them was the congestion charges imposed on shippers by the ports in Sandakan and Tawau.
“This issue was raised in 2003 and there was a promise that the charges would be waived like it has been done in the Kota Kinabalu port if there was more than 12 containers turnaround time,” he said, adding that other issues were about the charges on empty containers and the basic infrastructure in the ports,” he said.
Asked if the cabotage policy would be discussed, Khoo said no as the state and federal governments are already doing that as promised by Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
by Nancy Lai