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The reintroduction of the cabotage policy in Sarawak is set to play a significant role in fostering a sustainable maritime ecosystem. According to Dato Jonathan Chai, Secretary-General of the Sarawak Business Federation (SBF), reinstating this policy will protect Sarawak’s strategic commodities and services, generate job opportunities, and reduce reliance on foreign vessels.

Economic and Employment Benefits

Chai emphasizes that the shipbuilding industry is crucial for Sarawak, significantly contributing to the local economy and creating thousands of jobs. The reinstated policy has garnered mixed reactions, especially from stakeholders in the local shipbuilding and shipping industries who support the decision to sustain the state's shipping sector.

Impact on Local Shipbuilding

The local shipbuilding industry would face negative consequences if local operators went out of business. This downturn would lead to fewer local vessels operating in the waters and a decline in maintenance services required. However, some members of the import business prefer the previous exemption, believing it reduced delivery times and made shipping costs more competitive when foreign ships were allowed to engage in domestic shipping.

Chai hopes that local shipping companies can meet the business community's needs by providing better services at more competitive rates.

Federal Support

Federal Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced the reintroduction of the cabotage policy at Sarawak's request. This move aims to support the growth of the domestic shipping industry in Sarawak, which boasts a high number of shipping companies and shipbuilding activities.

Source: The Borneo Post