Namely, MASA's Chairman Datuk Abdul Hak Md Amin believes that the liberalisation of the cabotage policy is to blame for the higher cost of goods in Sabah and Sarawak.

GET THE SAFETY4SEA IN YOUR INBOX!

He specifically said that the negative impact of this policy can be seen in the local shipping industry as well as domestic shipping companies. This is because foreign ships from Singapore, China, Thailand and Indonesia, have started crowding Malaysian waters, Mr. Amin told local media.

In addition, because of this policy, many local shipping companies are facing challenges with some winding up their business due to unfair competition, he added.

What is more, low minimum salary and weak regulations on board vessels in the countries of origin also played a key part in the increase of foreign ships in Malaysian waters, some of which are unsafe and unseaworthy. This is because the cabotage policy led more foreign ships to move free in Malaysian waters, because domestic shipping licence were no longer needed.

This problem is also exacerbated by the lack of jobs for local players and reduction in vessels, causing a lack of training berths for cadets, Datuk Abdul Hak Md Amin concluded.