KUALA LUMPUR: The government is currently reviewing regulations pertaining to bunkering services to make refuelling ships in Malaysia attractive, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.
He said Malaysia had lost out many potential business opportunities in terms of bunkering to Singapore over the years.
According to Loke, there were at present too many regulations and processes that stood in the way of potential industry players wanting to participate in the business of refuelling ships.
“So, we are reviewing all of these regulations, and we are hoping to streamline them.
"Hopefully once we have streamlined them, the whole industry can be developed, ” he stated.
Loke said that the government wanted to develop the local bunkering sector, as it was an industry with room for improvement and potential business opportunities, given Malaysia’s strategic position along the Straits of Malacca.
“It’s not that we don’t have bunkering services. We do. I think we are not big enough.
"There is a lot of room for improvement and a lot of potential we can tap.
“Yearly, there are so many ships passing through the Straits of Malacca, and all that is business opportunity to Malaysia, and we don’t want to lose out.
“So, we are hoping that we can develop our bunkering industry.
"All the ships passing through the Straits of Malacca, they need to refuel. But most of the time, all this bunkering is happening in Singapore.
“We need to develop a whole ecosystem in terms of supplies, regulations and enforcement. We have to also inspire confidence that bunkering in Malaysia is safe and we can be transparent, ” he added.
Loke said every issue that caused shipping companies to avoid bunkering in Malaysia must be dealt with.
The Transport Ministry was currently working closely with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry over the issue, he added.
“We already have our initial meetings at the official level between the two ministries and, of course, that will lay the foundation.
“I will also have a meeting with the minister himself to finalise the detail and to come up with comprehensive policies on how to move our bunkering industry forward.”