LONDON, Nov 30 ― Malaysia has retained its seat in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) Council for the eighth consecutive term with a higher vote tally, boosting the country's image in the global maritime industry.
Malaysia secured 142 votes -- the third highest among 24 other candidates in the same category -- compared with 131 votes in 2017, which put it in ninth place.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the re-election of Malaysia as a council member under Category C is important as it will boost the country's image in global maritime industry.
At the same time, it allows Malaysia to access firsthand information on maritime initiatives spearheaded by IMO, he told Bernama here today.
IMO, headquartered in London, is known as a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine and atmospheric pollution by ships.
Loke said the organisation is set to introduce several initiatives next year, including a lower sulphur fuel cap for vessels which represents a new beginning for the global shipping industry.
“As for Malaysia, we also hope that by retaining the position in the biennium council election, Malaysia will have a say in IMO decisions going forward,” he said.
Category C comprises 20 states with special interests in maritime transport or navigation and whose election to the Council will ensure the representation of all major geographic areas of the world.
Others in this category are Bahamas, Belgium, Chile, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Kuwait, Malta, Mexico, Morocco, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand and Turkey.
Category A comprises 10 states with the largest interest in providing international shipping services, namely China, Greece, Italy, Japan, Norway, Panama, South Korea, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, the United States.
Category B are 10 states with the largest interest in international seaborne trade, namely Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Arab Emirates.
In a statement today, Malaysia's Foreign Affairs Ministry said the country was re-elected for the 2020-2021 term at the IMO council elections held on Nov 29 during the 31st regular session of the IMO assembly at its headquarters.
The 142 votes received marked the highest number of votes the country has ever received since Malaysia became an IMO council member since 2006, it noted.
“The achievement is a strong reflection of continued confidence by the maritime communities of Malaysia's role as a council member,” the ministry added.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Shipowners’ Association (MASA) chairman Datuk Hak Md Amin said the association would continue to support the government in ensuring that Malaysia becomes a maritime nation.
“It is important for Malaysia to have a seat in the assembly, whereby we will have a representative in the office to represent Malaysia in all discussions that could affect the domestic maritime industry as well as the world,” he added.
Malaysia's strategic geographical location, between the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca, should be able to lift the domestic shipping industry higher, as these two maritime corridors are deemed as the major shipping lanes connecting regions.
However, the development of the local maritime industry requires speedy and concerted efforts by all parties, he said.
Loke had led the Malaysian delegates to London to participate in the council elections and he was joined by Hak, Maritime Affairs Department director general Dr Adina Kamaruddin, Penang Port Commission general manager Monaliza Suhaimi, Port Klang Authority general manager, Capt Subramaniam Karuppiah, attending a series of meetings related to maritime matters. ― Bernama