Vital to keep Straits of Malacca safe and clean, says Dr Wee

  • Nation
  • Monday, 18 Jul 2022

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (second from left) arriving for the welcoming dinner of the 13th Co-operative Mechanism on The Safety of Navigation and Environmental Protection in The Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Monday (July 18).

KUALA LUMPUR: With nearly 100,000 ships passing through the Straits of Malacca every year, it is vital that Malaysia and neighbouring countries band together to keep it safe and clean, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister added that Malaysia had an important role in ensuring the security of shipping and the protection of marine environment in the shared sea passage, which is regarded as one of the world's busiest sea lanes.

"The Straits of Malacca and Singapore are the main seaways connecting the Indian and Pacific oceans as well as the shortest route for tankers traversing regions between the Middle East and East Asia.

"Shallow waters, erratic tides, currents and unpredictable wind shifts make these crossings some of the most challenging places for international trade and commerce, representing navigational obstacles that should be overcome with modern technology applications and safety practices.

"The Straits are also considered to be among the most heavily used straits for international navigation, with more than 80,000 ships traversing these sea lanes annually, carrying an estimated 25% of the world's traded goods.

"Therefore, I believe that our act of coming together under the Co-operative Mechanism demonstrates that we recognise the need to keep the Straits safe, open, and clean to facilitate international shipping.

"We are all aware that what happens in the Straits impact not only the littoral states but also the region’s trade and global economy,” he said at the welcoming dinner of the 13th Co-operative Mechanism on The Safety of Navigation and Environmental Protection in The Straits of Malacca and Singapore on Monday (July 18).

Dr Wee said Malaysia’s location along the Straits of Malacca has allowed the country to place itself as a major world transhipment hub.

"The E-navigation facility has also played a major role in enabling our state-owned ports, namely Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas, to be ranked 12th and 15th busiest ports, respectively in the world,” he said.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic badly hitting the country’s maritime based sectors such as shipping, port operations, fishing and tourism, Dr Wee said Malaysia continued to demonstrate economic resilience and is able to boost efforts to rejuvenate its economy.

"The global supply chain has been hard-hit with dire consequences for international trade and the shipping industry.

"The decline in trade was similarly seen in other regional countries.

"The shipping sector may take time to recover from the slow demand, despite the reopening of all businesses in the post pandemic period. However, there are also signs of increase in import and export activities, which will improve shipping sector business,” said Dr Wee.

The 13th Co-operative Mechanism, which is a joint effort between Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, is held here for five days until Friday (July 22).

The event’s focus will be on enhancing and maintaining the safety of navigation and marine environment protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore, as to provide international shipping a safe, open and clean passage.

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