PUTRAJAYA: The proposed Ship-to-Ship (STS) transfer hub project in Johor Baru will be a major boost to Malaysia’s economic growth, says Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
Set to be the largest STS hub in the world, he said it was in everyone’s interest for the project to succeed.
“This is a project that will benefit Malaysia. I do not think anyone would want to see Malaysia lose out,” he said after witnessing the signing of an agreement between KA Petra Sdn Bhd and Hutchison Ports Holdings Ltd, which will jointly develop the STS Hub at Johor Baru waters.
The project came into the limelight after Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Ibrahim shared a posting on his Facebook page which criticised the project.
The post by a group called Gerakan Muafakat Johor claimed that Putrajaya bulldozed the project without the knowledge of the Johor government and wanted to enrich its cronies.
Dr Mahathir denied that Johor was in the dark about the project, saying that a lot of people were already aware of it since discussions began last year.
He also said Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian was well aware of the planned development.
“I met him yesterday (Monday) and we spoke about this, so he knows,” said Dr Mahathir, adding that there had not been any official rejection of the project from Johor.
The Prime Minister also said Tunku Ismail should be in the know about the project.
“He (Tunku Ismail) is in Johor. Many people in Johor know about it. I’m puzzled if he doesn’t know about this. He knows a lot of things, yet he doesn’t know about this,” said Dr Mahathir.
When asked about claims that the project was meant to benefit Putrajaya’s cronies, he responded: “Everyone in Malaysia is my crony. I work for all the people, including people in Johor.”
He added that Singapore was also aware of the plans for the STS Hub.
“Singapore knows about this. They protested, but we showed them that this is in Malaysian waters and not Singaporean waters.
“As far as I know, we are entitled to build the project if it is in our waters,” he said.
On another matter, Dr Mahathir said the government had no plans to lower the price of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), which he said was already being sold at a “very low, subsidised price”.
He was responding to the decline in Asian LNG prices, which dropped to a record low of US$4.43 (RM18) per MMBtu.
On Lynas Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Dr Mahathir said the Cabinet would discuss the management of its
radioactive waste material before making a final decision.
“There may be differences of opinion, but that is normal. The Cabinet will determine the official stand,” he added.
Cabinet ministers have been at loggerheads on the Lynas issue in the past week, with Entrepreneur Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof controversially claiming that Malaysia will allow Lynas to continue operating here.
Last year, Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin said Lynas should honour its commitment to remove its water leach
purification residue from Malaysia before the endorsement of its operating licence, which expires on Sept 2.