LONDON: Malaysia is “cautiously optimistic” of being re-elected for the third time in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.
He said Malaysia had been campaigning very hard for one of the 20 seats in the council’s category C for countries with maritime and navigational interests.
Ong said the country had been proactive in its role over the years, especially through international outfits such as the IMO and the International Civil Aviation Organisation, where it also held a council seat.
“We’re of the view that any international law related to maritime should always be enacted with the participation of developing countries such as Malaysia.
“It shouldn’t be dictated in any sense or in any way by a handful of countries,” he said after attending the IMO’s 26th assembly here yesterday.
Ong is leading a 16-member delegation including Port Klang Free Zone chairman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng, Penang Port Commission chairman Tan Cheng Liang, Transport Ministry’s under-secretary for maritime division Abdullah Yusuff Basiron and Malaysian High Commission’s maritime attaché Raja Datuk Malik Saripulazan.
Twenty-six countries including Malaysia are vying for 20 seats in category C in the elections on Friday. Malaysia was first elected in 2005 and re-elected in 2007.
Ong said he expected a tough fight but added that Malaysian High Commissioner Datuk Abdul Aziz Mohamad as well as other officials, especially Raja Malik, had been working hard in the past months.
Raja Malik said Malaysia had a strong case based on its bidding which projected its trade with respect to maritime transport and navigational safety interests.
He said the country’s exports and imports were hugely dependent on maritime transport and shipping, with 90% of trade relying on international shipping.
Tan said she had spoken with the delegates and received positive feedback towards Malaysia’s third bid for the post.
Lee said it was important for Malaysia to play its role in keeping the Straits of Malacca “open as well as pollution and pirates free” as it was one of the world’s busiest and narrowest straits.
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