PETALING JAYA: A government agency boss has come under fire from shipping associations for disparaging remarks about transport minister Wee Ka Siong on the cabotage issue.
The statement from the six shipping associations comes after Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chairman Rais Hussin referred to Wee as a “minister with an IQ of a cabbage”.
Rais, who has been critical of the government’s decision to revoke cabotage exemption for foreign vessels undertaking submarine cable repairs, also said Wee should not be talking about the matter.
Today, the Malaysia Shipowners’ Association (Masa), Ikhtisas Kelautan Malaysia (Ikmal), Sarawak and Sabah Shipowners’ Association (SSSA), Malaysia OSV Owners’ Association (Mosva), Association of Marine Industries of Malaysia (AMIM) and the Sarawak Association of Marine Industries (Samin) hit back at Rais.
In a joint statement, they condemned Rais’ remarks, saying personal insults were uncalled for.
“Our minister is the custodian of the cabotage policy and is well-versed with the objectives and the needs of the policy in the country,” said Masa chairman Abdul Hak Md Amin.
“Malaysia is one of about 100 countries worldwide practising this policy and Masa stands solidly behind the minister in his firm action to ensure Malaysia’s sovereignty and security are safeguarded.”
Mosva president Safwan Othman said Rais’ comments demonstrated “blatant arrogance and a contemptuous attitude”, adding that the cabotage issue needed to be resolved amicably.
Samin president Renco Yong said it backed Wee in upholding the cabotage policy to support the local maritime industry
“Government and government-linked companies should emphasise local (products and services) and make (their use) mandatory.
“We believe that with the strong support and involvement of all stakeholders, government and industry alike, the maritime industry will be able to flourish and benefit the nation as a whole.”