LUMPUR: Malaysia has the potential of becoming a regional champion
in maritime industry if efforts to improve its supporting
infrastructure and incentives are given more focus by the
Maritime Institute’s (Ikmal) new president Datuk Abd Hak Md Amin
said Malaysia had world-class facilities such as airports, hotels,
road networks and modern ports but shipowners still preferred to go
to Singapore for their crew change or stock-up provisions, refuel
crew change for ships in Malaysia and Singapore alone ran into more
than a million crew annually, but 95% of this crew change take place
in Singapore,” he told StarBiz in
an interview at Ikmal new headquarters in Setiawangsa.
activity contributed significantly to the economy of the republic
because they use airport, hotels, transport facilities (air, land
and sea) and entertainment outlets during their few days’ stay
while waiting for the ships or to be repatriated back to their home
makes the immigration, custom and port clearance processes for ships
calling at its port as hassle-free as possible. We need to emulate
some of the good things that benefit the shipowners.
example, crew-change process that involves immigration clearance
should be simpler.
certain countries, online advance immigration clearance could be
done without requiring physical attendance of the seafarers.
example is “spares in transit” which sometime put off the
shipowners using Malaysian airport as transit point because of the
said more support should be given to the local shipbuilding industry
which would in turn create a lot of economic spin-offs.
shipbuilding industry in Malaysia, he said, was “neither here nor
example, the shipbuilding industry in Japan, South Korea and China
would not have flourished without strong support from their
governments especially in the initial stages.
Japan and South Korea, their governments supported the industry via
giving a lot of shipbuilding contracts to new shipbuilders.
also encourage their shipping companies to build their ships locally
by giving incentives like soft loan or grants. After seven to 10
years of usage, the ship must be sold to other foreign owners like
Malaysians, Indonesians or Africans so that they could continue to
order new ships from their shipbuilders, and the cycle continues,”
way the supporting industries like the designers, and engine and
equipment makers will also flourish. There is also the element of
sustainability in the industry.
said the issue of piracy had also recently re-surfaced in this part
of the region.
Strait of Malacca was identified as a piracy hot spot prior to 2006
until there were dramatic improvements owing to the three littoral
strait was removed from a war-risk zone list in 2006.
is becoming a menace again especially around Batam and South China
Sea areas, according to complaints by our members. Although it does
not involve serious crimes like hijacking or vessels or kidnapping
of crew, the pirates there have boarded ships and stolen the
belongings of the crew.
this continues, it will dampen the spirit of the crew and could lead
to more serious crimes later on. Fortunately, we have a world-class
navy and coastguard that we can depend on to safeguard our
waters,” he said.
the current state of the maritime industry, Hak said obviously it
was in a downturn where in Malaysia several shipping companies had
the biggest shipping company, Maersk was reported to record a loss
this year and at home, the third-quarter result for Maybulk dipped
by 99%,” he said.
to Hak, if the downturn persists, it will affect the country’s
maritime graduates’ employment opportunities.
of maritime-related graduates are being produced annually and if
nothing is done to spur the growth of the industry, it will become a
problem. For example, something should be done to support the growth
of our shipbuilding industry as I earlier mentioned.
the recent proposal to reduce income tax exemption for shipping
firms to 70% of statutory income from next year, versus 100%
currently, will further impede the investment and expansion for this
countries worldwide do not impose tax on shipping companies as they
are one of the main trade facilitators and Malaysia is ultimately a
trading nation,” he said.
said currently Malaysian Shipowners Association (Masa) was talking
to the Finance Ministry on that matter and Ikmal would give it full
support to Masa.
his appointment as the president of IKMAL, Hak was proud that he was
the first marine engineer to helm the institute.