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KUCHING, Sept 28: Sarawak Pakatan Harapan (PH) holds that Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) and the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) coalition are playing politics on the issue of the 51 per cent Bumiputra equity ownership requirement for freight forwarding companies.
Sarawak PH in a joint statement by Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Chong Chieng Jen, Sarawak Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) chairman Abang Abdul Halil Abang Naili and Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) deputy chairman Abang Zulkifli Abang Engkeh alleged while the SUPP second-liner and third-liner leaders issued press statements opposing the implementation of such policy, the top leaders of GPS are supporting the government’s decision to proceed with the policy.
“Today, in Parliament, the Minister of Finance, while replying to the question of (Seremban MP) Anthony Loke on this issue, made it clear that the PN (Perikatan Nasional) government will only put the implementation of such policy on hold till 2022,” said Sarawak PH.
The policy of 51 per cent Bumiputera equity share was introduced back in 1990.
Under the law, all freight forwarding companies shall require the Customs brokerage licence before they can carry out the freight forwarding businesses.
Under the 51 per cent Bumiputera equity policy, all freight forwarding companies formed after 1990 shall require a Bumiputera equity of 51 per cent to be eligible for the licence from the Customs Department. However, the policy is not applicable to companies formed before 1990. Listed companies and foreign companies are also exempted from this policy.
“That was the policy set down by the Barisan Nasional since 1990.
“When PH became government in 2018, there were attempts by some government officers to apply this policy to all freight forwarding companies, including those formed before 1990.
“Such attempt never saw the light of the day and was nipped at the bud by Lim Guan Eng who was then the Minister of Finance. As such, the industry players were not even aware that Lim Guan Eng has resolved the problem for them even before it became a problem,” said Sarawak PH.
Sarawak PH pointed out that when PN took over the government in 2020, similar attempts were made again, using the renewal of Customs brokerage licence as a leverage to implement the policy.
Sarawak PH claimed Minister of Finance Tengku Zafrul (Tengku Abdul Aziz) did not stop it, neither did the PN cabinet. Based on the answer provided by the MOF (Ministry of Finance), the government merely postponed its implementation till 2022, it added.
Sarawak PH asserted that following such cabinet decision, it is thus most insincere of SUPP to issue press statements opposing the implementation of the policy while, on the other hand, GPS and SUPP as part of the government continues to support the implementation of such policy.
“As for Sarawak PH, we hold the consistent stand that such 51 per cent Bumi-equity policy should not be implemented retrospectively to freight forwarding companies formed before 1990.
“Such policy is not good for the country and its economy and is most unfair and unconstitutional,” said Sarawak PH. — DayakDaily