KUALA LUMPUR, March 1 — Transport Minister Anthony Loke today said that the Cabinet has decided to reinstate the exemption of the cabotage policy for non-Malaysian vessels to conduct undersea cable repairs.

In a report by The Star, he said that his ministry would proceed with the necessary steps for the gazetting process.

“The effective date of these decisions will be announced later.

“This is an important decision to attract more foreign investments in the data centre industry and to stimulate the growth of the digital economy,” he was quoted at a press conference in Putrajaya.


The cabotage policy is aimed at protecting local shipping industry players, while ensuring maritime safety and regulating shipping activities.

He explained that the decision to reinstate the exemption was made during a Cabinet meeting held earlier today, following extensive discussions with key industry stakeholders.

On May 5, 2023, he said he would meet global tech companies, including Facebook and Google, as part of the government’s review of the cabotage policy.


The review of the policy includes allowing foreign vessels to repair undersea cables in Malaysian waters.

The exemption for foreign vessels was initially introduced in 2019 during Loke’s first term as transport minister to expedite undersea cable repairs and maintenance work,

However, it was reversed by his successor Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong under the Perikatan Nasional-led government, prompting concerns that it could affect foreign investments.