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Stop cabotage changes, urge Malaysian owners

Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian shipowners are appealing to the government to defer its unexpected decision on the relaxation of the national cabotage shipping policy, according to the local Business Times.
The local shipowners, represented by the Malaysian Shipowners' Association (MASA), said the decision to partially liberalise the cabotage policy and allow foreign shipping lines in the domestic trade should be held back at least until the economy, now in technical recession, recovered.
"It is bad enough that the national cabotage policy was relaxed to allow foreigners in the transhipment trade between Port Klang and Tanjung Pelepas in Peninsular Malaysia and that of Kota Kinabalu, Kuching and Bintulu to compete in a limited market but it will be worse if the policy is relaxed immediately when the shipping market is in the doldrums," said MASA chairman Nordin Mat Yusoff.
Under the cabotage shipping policy, implemented since 1980, domestic trade between any two ports in the country can only be served by Malaysian-owned shipping companies with Malaysian-flagged ships.
The partial relaxation of the cabotage policy took effect on June 3. [23/06/09]


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