Transport Ministry: Application for foreign vessels to operate here only takes five days

PETALING JAYA: The application process to allow foreign vessels to carry out certain activities has been shortened from 30 days to just five under the electronic domestic shipping licence (eDSL) system, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (pic).

The Transport Minister said the ministry set up the system in November last year to simplify the license application process and improve the public service delivery system.

"It is the responsibility of the Ministry to ensure that these vessels are allowed in areas where they are needed as soon as possible so that it will not have any impact on Internet connectivity in Malaysia which is now among the country's priorities.

"Currently, the process is much faster with the proper documentation," he said in a Facebook post Wednesday (Nov 25).

Dr Wee said before Nov 1 last year, the DSL/eDSL process could take up to a month.

"This will surely delay the necessary repair works. However, after the eDSL system was improved, the application procedure for eDSL has been shortened from 30 days to only five working days, provided there is no blockage in the application, including undersea cable repairs," he added.

Dr Wee also said the ministry had also explained in detail the decision to revoke the cabotage exemption for foreign vessels that repair undersea cables.

The cabotage exemption previously allowed foreign vessels to carry out undersea communications cable repair works without needing to apply for domestic shipping licensing exemption.

He said the decision was based on, among others, building the capacity and capability of domestic shipping, while increasing technical expertise through human resource development among locals.

"There are local vessels capable of undersea cable repair works. Their expertise has also been utilised in other countries such as Indonesia, Taiwan and Japan.

"It is questionable if they are allowed to perform such jobs overseas but are not accorded the same opportunities in Malaysian waters," he added.

Stating that the decision did not mean restricting or rejecting the entry of foreign companies or vessels into the country, Dr Wee said foreign vessels would only be allowed to do the job if locals were unable to do so.

The minister earlier attended a dialogue session with major companies Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Malaysia Internet Exchange (MyIX) to give a clearer picture on the National Cabotage Policy.

The dialogue highlighted three main issues – cabotage policy, eDSL and the capability of local vessels in repairing undersea cables.

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