KOTA KINABALU: The Transport Ministry will study the impact of the waiver of the cabotage policy this November, says Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Wilfred Madius Tangau (pic).
He said the study is expected to take six months to complete.
Madius, who is also Sabah Trade and Industry Minister, said this at the state legislative assembly in a written reply to a question from appointed assemblyman Loretto S. Padua, who had asked if the government would consider abolishing the cabotage policy altogether.
The policy is a regulation that does not allow foreign ships to engage in any domestic shipping, and a waiver was introduced in Sabah, Sarawak and the Federal Territory of Labuan from June 2017.
He added that 3, 778 foreign ships made direct calls to Sabah via Sepanggar Port in 2017, followed by another 3, 280 in 2018.
“We can see that the impact of this waiver implementation on direct port calls to Sabah was not as we hoped, ” he said.
Madius also responded to a question from Sugut assemblyman Datuk James Ratib, saying that Germany, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Thailand are new countries marked as potential trading partners for Sabah.
“These nations are expected to be importers of Sabah’s products, especially those that are food-based, ” he said.
In answering the question on new emerging partners and new markets for Sabah, Madius added that work is being done continuously by agencies under his Ministry to identify potential countries.
He also said that Sabah participated in international expos where they would conduct seminars on investment opportunities in the state on the sidelines.
However, Madius noted that the challenge was in managing the continuous supply of raw materials and resources.
“The other challenges are certification as well as food safety, where we need to ensure that global standard practices are being applied, ” he added.