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Sunday, 7 May 2017

(NST) East M'sia exempted from cabotage policy beginning June


SANDAKAN: Cargo vessels heading from Peninsular Malaysia to east Malaysia will be exempted from the cabotage policy beginning next month.

In making the announcement during the “Ekspresi Negaraku” event here, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the decision on the policy exemption was made based on recommendations by the state government and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders.

“The exemption applies only to cargo vessels from any port in Peninsular Malaysia to any port in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan.

“So there should no longer be talk of rising prices of goods in Sabah (due to the policy), as we have heard what the people have been calling for,” he said during the event at the Sandakan Municipal field here.

The cabotage policy in Sabah has been in force since 1980, under the Transport Ministry, to integrate all Malaysian maritime activities – but businesses and communities here have said it is the cause of higher prices of goods compared to the peninsula.

Meanwhile, Najib revealed that an allocation of RM80 million has been approved for the Sandakan Airport expansion project, which, once completed, will spur the district’s economic development, especially in the tourism sector.

Najib also said that the Goods and Services Tax (GST), although repeatedly attacked by the Opposition, is an important source of income which helps strengthen the nation’s security, schools, hospitals and infrastructure.

“The Opposition has no agenda. Each leader – Tun Mahathir Mohamad, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail – they all think differently, and what they say changes day by day.

“(People with) this kind of thinking would not be able to form a government. They are U-turn experts. They are unreliable to look after the nation’s future,” he added.