Lim Guan Eng applauds cabotage exemption for boosting digital investments

DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng praised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim Cabinet’s decision to reinstate the cabotage exemption for non-Malaysian vessels repairing undersea cables, stating it will boost and recover digital investments.

He said Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s reinstatement of the exemption, which was widely anticipated, would help to recoup and recover digital investments.

“Transport Minister Anthony Loke’s announcement to reinstate an exemption under Malaysia’s cabotage policy for specialised ships used to install and maintain undersea cables, that form the backbone of the world’s internet infrastructure, is an important reform that will attract mega digital investments into Malaysia,” he said in a statement today. 

He said that Loke’s adoption of a progressive regulatory framework could attract more investments in the tech industry and speed up Malaysia’s digital infrastructure growth.

“This was evident with the billions of US dollars of digital investments from internet and digital giants, the latest being Google’s USD $2 billion in investments in Selangor to develop its first data centre and a cloud facility. This is Google’s largest planned investment in the Southeast Asian nation, according to Alphabet Inc. Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat,” he said. 

He also said the government decision, effective June 1 onwards, marks a reversal of his predecessor, PN’s Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong’s revocation of the policy in 2020. 

“Wee had attracted brickbats for revoking Loke’s earlier decision to grant the exemption, which was seen as a disincentive for billions of ringgit of digital investments,” he said. 

“The cabotage policy exemption under Section 65U of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance applies to all cable-laying ships engaged in the installation, maintenance and repair of submarine telecommunication cable landed at any submarine cable landing centre in Malaysian waters,” he also said. 

Yesterday Loke exempted all cable-laying ships engaged in installing, maintaining, and repairing submarine telecommunication cables at any landing centre in Malaysian waters from the cabotage policy.

This action was taken using section 65U of the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952.

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