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Sabah, Kuching Ports to Join China-Malaysia Port Alliance

The Kuching Port Authority and the Sabah Ports Authority are among five new ports in Malaysia and China that are set to join the China-Malaysia Port Alliance (CMPA).

Liow Tiong Lai, the Malaysian Transport minister was quoted as saying that apart from Kuching and Sabah, the Kemaman Port Authority, would also be joining the alliance from the Malaysian side.

On the China side, Tianjin Port and Qingdao Port would be added, bringing the total number of ports in the alliance to 21.

"We will have a more comprehensive collaboration with ports from the peninsula, Sabah, Sarawak and China now" Liow was quoted saying after he officiated the CMPA's second annual meeting at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on Monday morning (4 September).

Sabah Ports has a 30-year concession, which commenced in 2004, to manage and operate eight ports in the state.

They are Kota Kinabalu Port, Sapangar Bay Container Port, Sapangar Bay Oil Terminal and Kudat Port - all located on the West Coast of Sabah - as well as Sandakan Port, Tawau Port, Lahad Datu Port and Kunak Port on the East Coast.

In his opening speech, Liow said China has been Malaysia's largest trading partner since 2009, with trade between both countries amounting to RM240.91bil in 2016.

He added that the aim was to make Malaysia the logistics hub for the Asean region and to strengthen the ports' infrastructure to increase its cargo-handling capacity.

Recently, diversified conglomerate MMC Corp Bhd had confirmed a report by The Edge Malaysia that it is in talks with Sabah-controlled Suria Capital Holdings Bhd to take up a stake in the latter's wholly-owned Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd.

"We wish to clarify that the discussion between MMC and Suria Capital Holdings Bhd with regards to the proposed acquisition of a stake in Sabah Ports Sdn Bhd by MMC Port Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MMC, has taken place.

"However, as at to date, the Board of Directors of MMC has yet to make any firm decision in relation to the same" it told Bursa Malaysia in a filing today.

Similarly, Suria Capital confirmed the talks in a separate Bursa filing.

Both MMC and Suria said further announcements will be made if there was any material development in relation to the matter.

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