Discrimination and Disfranchising Sabah – The Cabotage Policy


Overview of the Cabotage Policy

The Cabotage Policy

The Effect of Cabotage Policy to Sabah Economy

Beneficiaries to the Cabotage Policy

Cabotage Policy and the BIMP EAGA

Circumventing the Cabotage Policy

Based on the policy of protecting national shipping industry with the basic aim of ensuring national security, the number of ship registered in Malaysia total only 217 ships and about 40% of these ships are for LNG, petroleum and chemicals i.e. specially build ships.  This also means that only half of the merchant fleet in Malaysia is capable to transport goods and heavy equipment.  Obviously in times of emergency the merchant fleet in Malaysia can only have limited roles.

Based on this registry there are more ships registered in Kucing than in any other state in Malaysia.  This suggests that Kuching plays an important role in determining the national policy on shipping in the country.  Ships registration in Kota Kinabalu is so insignificant and the lowest in Malaysia.  This firmly suggests that Sabah does not play a significant role in determining the policy direction for the shipping industry in Malaysia.

The Cabotage Policy

Unlike the road toll along the Malaysian highway where the government regulate to price imposed by concessioner on road users, pricing of freight charges by feeder ships are not regulated by the government.  The ship owners are free to decide their freight charges.  It is not uncommon to see the cost of shipping a 20 foot container from Port Klang to Kota Kinabalu (RM2,436.00), Sandakan (RM3,236.00), Tawau (RM3,336.00), Lahad Datu via Sandakan (RM4,168.00), Lahad Datu via Tawau (RM4,386.00).  Discounts are offered to loyal customers amounting to +/- RM200.00.  The reason given for this exorbitant freight cost is because the container coming to Sabah is fully laden while on a return trip the containers are empty.

Obviously this is just a lame excuse which the ship’s owners have always maintained.  Their claim is often echoed and given support by the Federal government.  This implies that the Federal government supports the ship owners’ claim whilst denying the call made by the people in Sabah.

Port Klang is more than 1,500 km from Kota Kinabalu and by law the people in Sabah are forced to use Malaysian registered and licensed feeder ships to transport goods from Klang to Kota Kinabalu.  Foreign registered vessels from Vietnam or Hong Kong is not allowed to load and offload goods in Sabah Ports even when Vietnam or Hong Kong is closer to Kota Kinabalu.  This is the gist of the Cabotage Policy in Malaysia – a legal instrument to discriminate against all Malaysians in Sabah.

Things get worse when these unregulated pricing is controlled by a cartel.  For the last 27 years, the Federal government has repeatedly asked the people in Sabah to be patient.  They assure the people who complained that studies were being made to find the solution to the vast difference in prices between Malaya, Sabah and Sarawak.  Until today the Federal government has yet to come up with any solution.  Perhaps this is what the Prime Minister meant by Sabah being a “fix deposit” – We just take what and when we want – you have no say.

Actually the solution to this predicament is very simple.  All the government needs to do is to allow any foreign registered vessel to load and unload in Sabah ports before proceeding to their next destination.  Their next destination can be Singapore, Tanjung Pelepas or even Port Klang.

The ship owner is against this idea and has been adamant to keep up the present status quos.  They claim that these big shipping lines will start “dumping” the rates low that it will not be profitable for them.  Obviously this is good for Sabah; the same thing cannot be said about the ship owner and their cartel.  They need to compete in terms of pricing or offer better services to survive.

The more pertinent question is, how it that there are less than 50 ship owners in Malaysia and yet they are more powerful than the Malaysian government?


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About sifusiber
A husband & a father who wants his children to have a better future

8 Responses to Discrimination and Disfranchising Sabah – The Cabotage Policy

  1. Pingback: Response to Messrs Vidal Yudin Weil – legalandprudent.blogspot.com | Knowledge is Empowerment

  2. Pingback: Gaji Minimum Sabah Sarawak: Tindakan Penganak-tirian Kerajaan BN? | Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)

  3. lderple says:

    Saya yakin asalkan semua pihak bersatu, bekerjasama dan mengamalkan nwin-win situation, Sabah pasti akan lebih maju:)

    • sifusiber says:

      Ini lah yang selalu di amalkan oleh orang Malaya keatas Sabah – win-win situation. They win dan di Sabah hanya talibarut mereka saja yang win, rakyat merana. Di minta kita bersatu, ini bukan masalah Sabah, perpaduan masalah Malaya. Mungkin menjadi kenyataan kepada orang Sabah yang mengamalkan ideolgi Malaya. Bilangan mereka terlalu kecil dan kebanyakan mereka adalah talibarut dan dalang.
      Sabah sepatutnya maju sejak USNO lagi, namun kemajuan ini telah oleh pemimpin Malaya dengan dalang dan talibarut mereka di Sabah. Perkara ini perlu diperjelaskan kepada semua rakyat negeri Sabah supaya mereka boleh membuat keputusan sendiri. Knowledge is Empowerment, di perkasakan dengan Ilmu.

  4. analyst06 says:

    I have just read today’s Daily Express (Tues, 8th June 2010) and what caught my attention was the Gerakan Special Eight-Point 10th Malaysian Proposal for Sabah in a memorendum to the Prime Minister. Most of the points that Gerakan has given to the Prime Minister is actually the points that you have been raising all these years in Seminars, newspapers and blogs (even this blog). It is sad no one acknowledge you and your struggle. This is unfair for Gerakan just to take things for free.

    • sifusiber says:

      simmer down analyst06,

      The whole point in establishing this Blog is to empower the people through spreading of knowledge. This is whole point of our existence. That is why we must always remain faceless and nameless.

      People may speculate, we let them. Speculation is part of reflection, it induce the Brain juices.

      What we write in the Blog is for all to share, what Gerakan has done will be good for Sabah, for that I am content. All of you should be content.

      The government or the opposition may share whatever we have to give, but they must do it for the sake of the people not for their own political influence.

      Please do not forget, there is always the implementation part, they will continue reading our blog because we shall always be watching them.

  5. ikangelama says:

    bersimpati dengan Sabah yang harta dan kekayaan telah dibahagi samarata dengan seluruh negeri-negeri di SM. Masalahnya Sabah mempunyai keluasan geografi yang besar so, segala peruntukan yang disalurkan sukar tersebar ke seluruh kawasan.

    • sifusiber says:

      Terima kasih, sekiranya harta dan kekayaan dibahagi sama rata, orang di Sabah tidak akan bersungut. Namun harta dan kekayaan tidak diberikan sama rata bermulalah sungutan, apabila sungutan tersebut tidak dipedulikan sehingga 27 tahun seperti dasar kabotaj ini, sungutan akan menjadi kemarahan dan ini tidak memberikan faedah kepada sesiapa pun. Terkecuali mereka yang terlibat dalam sektor perkapalan. Mereka mengaut untung yang lebih, sama besarnya dengan subsidi toll lebuhraya. Sekiranya kerajaan sanggup membayar RM50 billion untuk membeli kembali lebuhraya. Kenapa tiada usaha menggunakan wang kurang daripada RM1 billion untuk membeli kapal kontena?
      Ini bukan permintaan yang tinggi atau boleh melemahkan Negara. Namun ia mungkin boleh melemahkan MCA dan sekutunya. Sanggupkah BN membiarkan Sabah untuk menghidupkan MCA?

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