KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg is hopeful that the abolishment of the cabotage policy as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak will reduce the cost of goods and help weather the rising cost of living in Sarawak.
“We thank the Prime Minister (Najib) for deciding to abolish the cabotage policy that will hopefully reduce cost implication because it avoids double handling.
“I know certain sectors are not happy but we have to consider the needs of the consumers. Hopefully it will reduce the cost and will help to weather the rising cost of living,” he told reporters after chairing a pre-council meeting here today.
Najib earlier today announced that the cabotage policy that limits the shipment of goods from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak and Sabah to only Malaysian-flagged ships would cease by June 1.
He said the 30-year-old policy was scrapped following calls from Sarawak and Sabah leaders.
However, Najib said the policy would still be applicable to cargo shipping operations within Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.
The cabotage policy was introduced in the 1980s as a way to promote Port Klang as the nation’s main trans-shipment hub as it would require goods from outside the country to go through that port before being shipped to Sarawak and Sabah.
The shipping policy has been blamed for the higher cost of goods in Sarawak and Sabah.
Last February, Transport Ministers Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said his ministry was agreeable to review cabotage policy.