|Yang Berhormat Menteri bersama barisan kepimpinan MASA|
#KLChronicle : We at #KLChronicle would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai for acknowledging the importance of having an association like Malaysian Shipowners Association (MASA) to safeguard the interest of shipowners in this country. The fact that Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai was able to make some time for this event showed that he sees that the shipping industry as a key industry to the Malaysian economy.
Going through the ministers speech, it was clearly evident that the Ministry of Transport (MOT) has taken unprecedented steps in ensuring the shipping industry is able to sustain itself in the ages of globalization. Some of the steps taken by MOT to assist shipowners are:
1. Provide RM 4 million startup to the Malaysia P&I Club for ships below 300 Gross Tonnage.
2. MOT to justify to the government to allow for 100% tax exemption of shipowners statutory income.
3. MOT to request MOF to consider abolishing corporate and personal tax for ferries, barges, tug boats, supply vessels, crew vessels and other vessels as well as crew members working on them.
4. Develop The Malaysian Shipping Master Plan.
In summary, the Malaysian government via MOT has never neglected the shipping industry. In fact under the current leadership of Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, it has been demonstrated that MOT has been taking proactive efforts in assisting the industry to weather the challenges that they are currently facing. This is due to the fact that the industry is employing thousands of locals as workers who depends on the shipping industry as their source of income.
If the shipping industry were to collapse, the consequence would be very high to the rakyat and subsequently to the government. By assisting the shipping industry, the government in substance is essentially taking care of the needs of the Rakyat itself.
Full Press Statement by Yang Berhormat Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai
Ir. Nordin Mat Yusoff,
Malaysian Shipowners’ Association (MASA),
Respected MASA Exco Members,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
First and foremost, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Malaysia’s Shipowners’ Association (MASA) for inviting me to officiate the launching of MASA’s new office and it is my pleasure to be here today.
Shipping is undoubtedly the means of connectivity and lifeline to the Malaysian economy since more than 95 percent of country’s trade is seaborne. The health of the shipping industry is thus important to the nation.
But we know that Malaysia’s shipping industry has been impacted due to the global economic slowdown as well as world financial crisis. I am very well aware that at present, Malaysia’s shipping industry is facing many challenges.
Thus, the Ministry of Transport is in the midst of addressing issues and challenges faced by the industry and looking into ways and means to support and further assist the Malaysian shipowners in these dire times. As what the MASA Chairman, Ir Nordin had mentioned in his speech earlier; ‘for the maritime and shipping industry, the Government’s intervention and immediate lifelines plays a major factor in the nation’s shipping industry well being and to meet the challenges.’
For your information, among the support and assistance MOT and its agencies have been planning and putting in place includes:
i) the formation of Malaysia P&I Club for ships below 300 Gross Tonnage. In this regards, MOT is coordinating with MOF for a startup grant of RM4 million for the club. This will enable Malaysia P&I Club to offer an affordable and competitive insurance premium to small shipowners involving third party liabilities. The insurance will cover a wide range of liabilities including death, personal injury, property damages, wreck removal and even abandonment of seafarers. I was made to understand that the setting up of the club is in its final stage and we’ll start operation before the end of the year.
ii) to further request the Ministry of Finance (MOF) to consider including ferries, barges, tug boats, supply vessels, crew vessels and other vessels as well as crew members working on them to be exempted from corporate and personal tax respectively. In this regards, I have also sent a letter to YB Menteri Kewangan II to consider the request favorably.
iii) in the 2012 budget, the Government planned to reduce the existing tax exemption for shipping companies from 100% to 70% of their statutory income. However, the Government deferred the plan until 2015 in views of MOT and MASA’s appeal. Hence, MOT is preparing a comprehensive paper to justify why the 100% tax exemption should be retained and its correlation with the Malaysian shipping in the global market. The retention of the 100% tax is also crucial for Malaysian shipping to be competitive and to be sustainable in this hugely competitive world shipping market.
iv) in the 2014 budget speech, an amount of RM3 billion was allocated as soft loan under the Maritime Development Fund via Bank Pembangunan Malaysia. The Fund is aimed at providing financing to shipowners to develop the shipping industry, shipyard construction, oil and gas as well as maritime-related support activities. Thus, to ensure that the Fund objective are fulfilled and utilized, the Ministry is facilitating multiple discussions with relevant agencies to expedite the Fund disbursement and in this regards, I would like to thank MASA for their involvement and participation in the many discussions that were held; and finally
v) recognizing the criticality of the shipping industry to the Malaysian economy and its people, the Ministry, Maritime Institute of Malaysia (MIMA), MASA, Marine Department of Malaysia and other stakeholders are formulating strategies and action plans to address challenges faced by the Malaysian shipping in the Malaysian Shipping Master Plan. The Malaysian Shipping Master Plan is expected to identify issues and make recommendations to be carried out in phases. Among others, the Plan will elaborate and recommend appropriate strategies and measures relating to the shipping industry specifically and the supporting industry in general.
vi) I was informed that the draft Malaysian Shipping Master Plan will be ready by the end of the year for consideration of the Ministry. I firmly believe that the Master Plan will change the entire spectrum of Malaysian shipping and propelling it to greater heights once implemented.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Shipping, is a cyclical industry. Although, this down cycle seems long for some, I am confident it will turn back up again soon. We should remain positive and adamant.
During these times, ship owners should focus on developing maritime human capital through up-skilling and re-skilling to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness and productivity of maritime’s most invaluable resource: its people.
Other measures that could cushion the impact of the economic downturn include a comprehensive assessment of all aspects including finance, operations, fleet, services and personnel to ascertain areas of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and adjust strategies accordingly to maintain service quality and reliability as well as to protect and enhance market share.
Thus when the market rises again, those who are best prepared with the assets, capacity and personnel will be the first to reap the benefit of the recovery in global economy and seaborne trade.
Let’s pull our resources together and I welcome any proposals from MASA that we can jointly look at in promoting sustainability, opportunities for the growth and health of the shipping industry in the country.
I will continue to look towards MASA in her efforts and contribution towards Malaysia to be a high-income, developed, resilient, competitive maritime nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I was also made to understand that MASA used to operate its office from the Dayabumi Complex until recently. This new office owned by MASA in Putrajaya marks a significant achievement for MASA. This reflects MASA’s growing strength as an Association as well as its desire to provide better services to its members. Hence I would like to commend MASA and its leadership for this development and aspiration and I wish MASA well.
On that note, I officially launch Malaysia’s Shipowners’ Association New Office.