LANGKAWI: Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the region’s first yacht registry, the Langkawi International Yacht Registry, here yesterday, confident that it will help to make Malaysia and Langkawi better known to yachters throughout the world and promote tourism.
The Prime Minister hoped that Langkawi would be the eastern point where people kept their yachts and returned yearly to sail in Malaysian waters and the seas of neighbouring countries.
“We are very anxious to have more yachts in Malaysia. We have built many marinas in Langkawi, in the peninsula, and in Sabah and Sarawak.
“So, it is possible for yachts to sail down the Straits of Malacca, stop at the marinas and maybe stay there, or for people to disembark to visit local sights,” the Prime Minister said.
Dr Mahathir assured yacht owners that Malaysia would look after their safety while they were sailing through the strait.
“We have already put up 12 radar stations along the west coast to oversee passage and are increasing the number of patrol boats,” he said.
Noting that yacht owners were interested in upkeeping their vessels at a low cost, he said Malaysia had facilities to service, repair and build yachts, such as the Wavemaster Langkawi Yacht Centre here.
He said Langkawi-registered yachts would make the island and Malaysia better known as the vessels would be flying the registry’s flag, which would have the Jalur Gemilang on it.
Later, the Prime Minister presented a registry certificate for the A Khaliq pleasure yacht to its owner, Sapura Holdings chairman Tan Sri Shamsuddin Abdul Kadir.
The 33.45m yacht is the first vessel to be registered at the Langkawi International Yacht Registry.
Transport Minister Datuk Chan Kong Choy said the yacht registry would have competitive registration fees of between US$300 (RM1,140) and US$800 (RM3,040), depending on the size of the vessels.
Speaking to reporters after the launch, he said that yacht owners from all over the world could register their vessels online and would receive their certificates within a week.
He urged Malaysian yacht owners, who had registered their vessels elsewhere, to register them here.
Chan said there were now 53 Malaysian-owned yachts registered with the Malaysian Shipping Registry, which could “migrate” to the Langkawi Yacht Registry.
“The Transport Ministry will work closely with a foreign consultant to promote the registry and turn it into a leading international yacht registry,” he said.
In his speech earlier, Chan said the establishment of the registry would stimulate the growth of pleasure and recreational boating activities in Malaysia.
Transport Ministry secretary-general Datuk Zaharah Shaari said the ministry would create a very conducive environment for yacht owners and yacht-related entities to come here and do business.
“There could be some possible financial incentives like tax incentives that will be considered later for yacht-related businesses because when yacht owners come here, they not only do sailing but have related businesses,” she added.