SANDAKAN: A shipping policy that has been blamed for the higher costs of goods in east Malaysia has been scrapped.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the exemption of the cabotage policy for Sabah and Sarawak as well as Labuan would start from June 1.
The 30-year-old policy limits the shipment of goods from the peninsula to Sabah and Sarawak to only Malaysian-flagged ships.
Najib said the changes were being made following calls from leaders of both states.
However, the policy would still be applicable to cargo shipping operations within Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan, Najib said this when launching the Expressi NegaraKu patriotism programme at the Sandakan municipal field here on Sunday.
More than 30,000 people took part in the event that included a run as well as interactive exhibitions by various government agencies.
The cabotage policy was introduced in the 1980s as a way to promote Port Klang as the nation’s main transshipment hub as it would require goods from outside the country to go through the port before being shipped to Sabah.
On February, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said his ministry was agreeable to reviewing the cabotage policy.
At the event, the Prime Minister also announced that 90% of teachers in the state would comprise Sabahans within three years.
Najib also said the Opposition has no national agenda and its existence was to only criticise the Government no matter if it was illogical or nonsensical.
“For example, when fuel prices went up, the Government was to be blamed and when it went down, it was because of market forces.
“Similarly, when we worked hard for China investors to come in, they accused us of selling off our sovereignty. But when some of these projects were held off, they quickly start the blame game.
“Where is the logic in their thinking?” he added.