KUALA LUMPUR, July 18 — Close cooperation between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia is important to ensure smooth trading activities through the Straits of Melaka.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong said the three countries as littoral states and custodians of the Straits of Melaka needed to work together to ensure safety and environmental protection in the straits so that there would be no disruption.

He said the Straits of Melaka is one of the most important navigation routes in the world with 80,000 ships carrying about 25 per cent of the value of world merchandise through it every year.

“Shallow waters, complex and erratic tides, currents, and unpredictable wind shifts make the crossing some of the most challenging places for international trade and commerce, representing navigational obstacles that should be overcome with modern technology applications and safety practices,

“Whatever happens in this strait is the joint responsibility of the three countries. So, close ties must exist to ensure travel safety and environmental protection,” he said at a dinner in conjunction with the 13th Cooperative Mechanism, today.

The annual Cooperative Mechanism discussion, which was first held in 2006, is a joint venture between Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in discussing issues related to security and shipping activities in the Straits of Melaka and the Straits of Singapore.

Meanwhile, commenting on the government’s decision to allow the recruitment of foreign workers for the land warehousing sub-sector and the designation of his ministry as the regulatory agency, Wee said the decision was taken in view of the shortage of manpower in the sub-sector.

“I am aware that import and export activities have picked up due to stronger demand which has reached an encouraging level. Among the grievances by warehouse operators is the absence of workers,

“So, I have instructed my ministry to carry out regulatory duties on the recruitment of (foreign workers) based on the guidelines set under Act 446,” he said.

Earlier, Home Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin in a special press conference reportedly announced that the recruitment of foreign workers for the land warehouse sub-sector is allowed and the Ministry of Transport is acting as the regulatory agency.


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