Loke: Federal govt welcomes discussion on returning Bintulu Port to S’wak

Loke pens his signature on a plaque when officiating at the opening of Infinity Freight Village 5 in Westport, Port Klang on Feb 1, 2023.

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By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Feb 1: The federal government welcomes further discussions and negotiations with the Sarawak government regarding the State’s desire to take back Bintulu Port, says Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

Noting the Sarawak government’s aspiration to consolidate ports in Sarawak, he said the proposal to take back Bintulu Port is good in terms of Sarawak’s economic development.

“I have not received the official (report) from the Sarawak government but in the spirit of the unity government and while the Sarawak government has a good relationship with the federal government, anything can be discussed.

“I do not rule out any possibility. Anything can be discussed and negotiated and we are open but it will require a lot of processes because Bintulu Port is a federal port,” he said after officiating the opening of Infinity Freight Village 5 in Westport, Port Klang today. A voice recording of his comments was made available to DayakDaily.

Loke added that Bintulu Port is currently under the federal government’s jurisdiction and an agency under the Ministry of Transport (MOT).

“To be handed over to the Sarawak government, it will need to go through various legal processes. Meantime, Bintulu Port is in close cooperation with Sarawak,” he added.

On Monday (Jan 30), Premier of Sarawak Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had expressed the State government’s intention to take back Bintulu Port from the federal government so it can be developed in line with the strategies drawn up for all ports in Sarawak.

Abang Johari said that the Sarawak government wants Bintulu Port to be part of a cluster of State ports under a Central Port Authority, which would be incorporated by State law.

The new Authority will streamline and coordinate the management, operation, planning and development of all ports located in Sarawak.

Furthermore, under Sarawak’s Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy (PCDS) 2030, he added, the catalytic initiatives and key outcomes for the port development include a masterplan study for all ports in Sarawak, a 50 per cent increase in port capacity, efficient port services, a 25 per cent reduction in carbon emissions from port operations, and sustainability practices in ports. — DayakDaily