KOTA KINABALU: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak gave the assurance that the Government will study Sabah’s proposal to turn Sabah Port in Sepanggar into Malaysia’s eastern transhipment hub.
He said the matter would be considered as it could also address freight charge issues in the state.
“To be like Port Klang, Sabah Port must be productive. But let us (the Federal government) study your proposal (on Sabah Port as the eastern hub),” he said when opening the Liberal Democratic Party’s (LDP) 25th general assembly here yesterday.
He was responding to LDP president Datuk Teo Chee Kang’s proposal to elevate Sabah Port’s status to be on par with Port Klang.
Najib also provided an assurance that the Government would study the price structure of freight charges in Sabah, which many businesses in the state have blamed as being uncompetitive on account of the cabotage policy.
The policy was established to protect local shipping companies, but many businesses say it has resulted in a disparity in the price of goods between Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah as well as Sarawak, with prices being higher in the latter two.
“The policy may not be the reason. But if local shipping companies are fixing prices, then they are the culprits,” said Najib.
Earlier on, in his welcoming speech, Teo, who is also Sabah Special Tasks Minister, said Sabah Port has the potential to spur economic growth in the eastern region.
This, he said, was because, Kota Kinabalu was near to economic powerhouses such as China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Japan, as well as being in the Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippine East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). — Bernama