The Cabotage Policy would be a thing of the past if Sepanggar Bay Container Port could be developed as a transhipment hub, Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Raymond Tan said.
Tan, who is also Industrial Development Minister, said that as a transhipment hub, Sepanggar Bay Container Port would be transformed into a hub for commercial vessels like Port Klang.
"Once this happens, the Cabotage Policy will no longer be an issue. Therefore, we support the Federal Government's proposal to set up a hub for commercial vessels in Sabah" he said, adding that the State Government would encourage all shipping vessels whether foreign or local to do business in Sepanggar Bay Container Port.
"We hope that with Sabah's strategic location in the region, we, the government, will be able to gain economic benefits" he said in reply to Tamparuli assemblyman Datuk Seri Panglima Wilfred Bumburing.
Bumburing wanted to know if the State Government would discuss with its federal counterpart to have the Cabotage Police abolished when Sepanggar Bay Container Port becomes a transhipment hub.
To Sri Tanjong assemblyman Chan Foong Hin's question of projects implemented under the â€˜One Belt One Road (Obor)' initiative by the China government in Sabah, Tan said that suitable projects were being looked into.
Earlier Assistant Industrial Development Minister Datuk Bolkiah Ismail said that the failure of the TPPA to materialise had made China more aggressive in pushing for economic and commercial programs through OBOR.
Therefore, Sabah was acting swiftly and had taken the strategic step to get the benefits from OBOR through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), he said, adding this included turning Sepanggar Bay Container Port into a transhipment hub as well as making efforts to spur commerce among Asean countries.
The non-materialization of the TPPA had no negative impact on the effort to turn Sepanggar Bay Container Port into a transhipment hub, he said, adding that 15 countries were involved in the RCEP which could push Malaysia's trade to RM920.2 billion (62 percent of the country's global trade).