SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE
DATUK HAJI ABDUL RAHIM BIN BAKRI
DEPUTY MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, MALAYSIA
AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE
37TH ASEAN PORT ASSOCIATION MAIN COMMITTEE MEETING
22 NOVEMBER 2011 (TUESDAY)
A very good morning
First and foremost, I would like to thank the organizing committee, Kuantan Port Authority for inviting me to address a few words and to officiate the opening of the 37th ASEAN PORT ASSOCIATION MAIN COMMITTEE MEETING. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a very warm welcome or selamat datang to Malaysia.
The formation of the ASEAN PORT ASSOCIATION or APA goes a long way back to 1974 when it was just a six member association but now it has grown to nine. APA was conceived to provide a venue for port officials in the region to get together not only to share experiences but also to harmonizing broad based issues and finding solutions to problem areas so as to facilitate trade and practices among member countries.
APA has indeed come of age where the discourse is not only among member countries but as a grouping has held dialogues, cooperation and courses/seminar with other countries far and wide from the European Union as well as China and Japan.
The way businesses are conducted these days has evolved and changed with the advent not only of globalization but also the introduction of new technology. Indeed one has to keep up with these changes if not one will be left out in the fast changing world without borders. To stay competitive, trading nations have to look seriously at trade facilitation and how to make the whole process of trading simpler and smoother. In short this means how goods flow faster with minimal interruptions.
Ports being the gateways for the bulk of the world’s trade traffic are key players in trade facilitation. The rapid changes in the marketplace put pressure on ports to respond and indeed ports have to adapt to face these challenges. The role of port is not just confine to providing facilities and services but must match it with efficiency and productivity as well as IT driven. A well developed port infrastructure is thus a vital part of an efficient trading system and network.
The introduction of much larger vessels such as the super cape size and mega container ships has change the landscape of port development and management. To keep in tandem with these changes, the port has need to continuously to train their personnel. These are indeed challenging times which APA has to face.
Ladies and Gentlemen
The Government of Malaysia views the port as an important component of the country’s economic development and much effort has been devoted towards the development of the port industry. This effort can be seen in the growth of the two main ports of the country namely Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas which is now ranked among the top 20 container ports in the world.
However I would like to stress that the Government of Malaysia is not marginalising other ports. Indeed under the various sectoral economic development of Malaysia,
several projects has been identified in the East Coast region of Malaysia to transform and elevate the region to a higher income based economy. In this regards, Kuantan Port which is situated in the East Coast region will play a pivotal role to serve this region and plans are afoot to enhance the capability of Kuantan Port.
From a humble beginning in 1979, where Kuantan Port was managed and operated by the government through the Kuantan Port Authority, it has now been privatised to Kuantan Port Consortium Sdn Bhd on 1st January 1998. I am happy to note that there is close cooperation between the privates sector namely the port operator and the regulator i.e. Kuantan Port Authority to foster public-private partnership as envisage under the privatisation programme.
This type of partnership is not unique to Malaysia and I am sure that it is working equally well in other ASEAN countries. It is important that both the government and the private sector in ASEAN work in unison in keeping open the channels of cooperation in ports and it is through such meetings and other related forums that we learn from one another through the exchange of experiences and ideas as well as programmes carried out under the auspices of APA.
Ladies and Gentlemen
Looking at the agenda of the meeting there are serious matters to discuss but I hope that the delegates will take time off to explore Kuantan and its beautiful surroundings and to take home fond memories of Kuantan and also that of Malaysia.
I sincerely hope that this meeting will enhanced and foster better relationship between the members of ASEAN port countries. I wish you a productive and fruitful deliberation and successful outcome.
It gives me great pleasure to officially declare the 37th APA Main Committee Meeting open.
Thank You. Terima kasih.