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KUCHING, Dec 29 — The exemption of the cabotage policy to Sarawak this year has failed to reduce the prices of consumer goods, DAP’s Chong Chieng Jen said today.
He said Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Openg was among the state ministers who had called for the abolition of the policy which had required all imported goods to enter Sarawak through Port Klang, which was aimed at reducing their prices.
“To claim that the abolition of the policy would reduce the prices of goods is taking a too simplistic view of the economy and showing an ignorance of the practical aspects of the economic situation,” Chong told reporters.
“Six months on, the prices of general goods have not gone down, but up,” the Sarawak DAP chairman said, adding that he had supported the abolition of the policy, but stressed that it would not help to bring down the prices of goods in Sarawak.
Apart from Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan were also exempted from the policy beginning June 1 this year after calls from leaders from Sarawak and Sabah for its abolition to enable foreign vessels to make calls at ports of the two Borneo states.
Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa state assemblyman, said 1,208 foreign vessels made calls to Sarawak ports between June and September this year compared to 1,357 recorded in the corresponding period last year.