Close cooperation between Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia is important in ensuring the smooth running of trade activities in the Straits of Malacca, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.
He said the three parties as the litoral state and guardians of the Straits of Melaka needed to work together to ensure safety and environmental protection in the strait so that there would be no disruption to trade activities.
Wee said the Straits of Melaka was one of the most important navigational routes in the world with 80,000 ships carrying about 25 percent of the value of world merchandise through it every year.
Shallow waters, complex and erratic tides, strong currents, and erratic wind shifts make the strait one of the most challenging locations for international trade, so all these navigational barriers must be overcome with the application of modern technology and safety practices.
“Whatever happens in the strait is the joint responsibility of the three countries. So, close ties must exist to ensure travel safety and environmental protection,” he said at a dinner in conjunction with the 13th Cooperation Mechanism here.
The annual discussion on the Cooperation Mechanism, which was first held in 2006, was a joint effort of the three countries in discussing issues related to security and shipping activities in the Straits of Malacca and the Straits of Singapore.
Meanwhile, commenting on the government’s decision to allow the recruitment of foreign workers for the land warehouse sub-sector and the designation of his ministry as the Regulatory Agency, Wee said the move was taken following a shortage of manpower.
“I am aware that import and export activities are now more vigorous following the demand which has begun to recover and reach an encouraging level. Among the grievances of warehouse operators are the absence of workers.
“So I instructed my ministry to carry out regulatory duties on the recruitment of (foreign workers) based on the guidelines set under Act 446,” he said.
Earlier, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin in a special press conference announced that the recruitment of foreign workers for the land warehouse sub-sector is allowed and the Ministry of Transport will act as the Regulatory Agency.