Malaysia reforms to improve competitiveness

Malaysia is planning to abolish some regulations to make its ports more competitive, especially in the transhipment sector, a senior government official has said. Many of the regulations were created to try to curb smuggling, but are now seen as hindering trade.

“Import permits and other regulations which prevented our ports from competing will be abolished and my ministry will hold discussions with other relevant ministries about the plan,” Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said.

“Transhipped goods are not for the local market but only to be stored and repacked here before being shipped out to other countries, so there is no need for us to enforce import permits on them,” he added.

One specific reform being considered is loosening the criteria of Approved Permits (APs) on transhipped goods

"Transhipment of mineral water here requires APs. I don't understand why we have such regulations that hamper our seaports' competitiveness as transhipment hubs.

"We're looking to remove [AP] regulations to facilitate easier transhipment and put in better mechanism to keep a check on smuggling," he told reporters.

Beginning April 1 this year, the government exempted import permits on vehicles transhipped through local ports.

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