MOT to provide clarity to tech giants on cabotage policy – Anthony Loke

KUALA LUMPUR – Minister of Transport Anthony Loke Siew Fook (picture) is scheduled to meet with representatives from multinational technology companies such as Facebook and Google next week to clarify Malaysia’s stance on cabotage policy restrictions for submarine cable repair as well as reassure foreign investors about Malaysia’s future policies.

Loke said these businesses, as well as investors, require policy clarity and the ministry intended to provide such clarity as well as certainty on policies to help them make more investment decisions in Malaysia.

“My role as the Minister is to provide certainty and clarity of policies. I think companies would just want certainty in terms of the way forward and in terms of policies and we will hear them out too,” he said after witnessing a memorandum of understanding signing between the Malaysia Bunkering Association and Malaysia Shipowners’ Association here today.

He said submarine cable repair is a subsector issue within cabotage policy and is highly particular, thus, it does not need to be handled at the industry level.

“What they (IT companies and investors) need is just that the ship can go there quickly in order to do the repair, the ship can reach the destination quickly and efficiently and that’s the only issue,” he said.

He said although the issue of undersea cable repair does not affect the maritime business as a whole, it is vital to the IT industry.

“We will listen to them and if there is a need, we will invite them,” he said.

Previously, it was reported that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) is working to reinstate exemptions granted to non-Malaysian vessels conducting undersea cable repairs in 2019.

According to EMIR Research, the loss of the cabotage exemption, which allows foreign vessels to conduct undersea cable repairs in Malaysian waters, may deter foreign investors from investing in Malaysian telecommunications and internet infrastructure.

Concerning undersea cable repairs in Malaysian waters, the research firm stated that the country currently lacks sufficient capacity of cable repair ships to support the necessary capacity and capability of submarine cable invested by over-the-top content providers such as Facebook and Google. – Bernama