Proposal to revoke cabotage policy discussed in Cabinet meeting, says Khairy

PETALING JAYA: Calls for an exemption to the cabotage policy for submarine cable repair works in Malaysian waters was discussed during the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (April 14), says Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

Following the Cabinet meeting, Khairy said ministers had been instructed to discuss its impact on investments and the local shipping industry, with recommendations to be tabled within a fortnight.

"Ministers of the International Trade and Industry, Finance, Transport, Communications and Multimedia, Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministries, Mosti and the Economic Planning Unit were instructed to deliberate the impact on digital investments and the local shipping industry.

"To report back in two weeks with recommendations," he tweeted on Wednesday (April 14).

The reimposition of the cabotage policy for submarine cable repair works has been a contentious issue, with critics arguing that such a policy could deter foreign investments, and cause tech companies to exclude Malaysia from cable projects aimed at boosting regional Internet connectivity.

The decision to reimpose the cabotage policy last Nov 16 was defended by the Transport Ministry and the Malaysian Shipowners' Association, saying the move was necessary to safeguard national sovereignty and the interests of the local shipping industry,

Introduced in Jan 1980, the national cabotage policy was tweaked in April 2019 by Pakatan Harapan government, which exempted vessels involved in submarine cable repair and maintenance work from having to apply for a domestic shipping license.

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