Transport, Climate Change Ministries team up to combat waste dumping at ports

Lazareen Thaveethu Moses
Transport Minister Anthony Loke speaks during a press conference at the Transport Ministry in Putrajaya April 24, 2019. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

PUTRAJAYA, April 24 — Minister of Transport Anthony Loke said today that his ministry will work closely with the Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change (Mestecc) to ensure Malaysian ports do not become a dumping ground for plastic waste.

Loke gave the Ministry of Transport’s (MOT) full support for Mestecc, noting the many procedures and rules involved in any inter-agency move.

“The MOT only acts as the port operator. We only control the ports,” he told the press here.

“So we do not want the ports to be misused as dumping grounds and of course if any need arises from other agencies, including Mestecc, we as the existing port regulatory body will give our full cooperation.”

He also stressed that certain standard operating procedures (SOPs) must also be reviewed to ensure ships do not smuggle waste into the country.

“We have to work together with the shipping liners and so on. We have to review some of the procedures. And at the port level, port operators I think have a lot of procedures and some of the SOPs must be reviewed,” he explained.

Having said that, he emphasised that to avoid such dumping, ships cannot be banned from anchoring at the ports because the ministry wants to ensure the country’s ports are competitive.

“Banning ships is definitely not one of the measures. I want to stress that Malaysia, especially the MOT is working hard and we are continuously meeting with all the international shipping liners to attract them to make more calls to Malaysia.

“We want to make our ports as competitive as possible and we cannot ban ships from coming in,” he said.

Loke added that discussions on the matter took place in Cabinet this morning and a post-Cabinet meeting with his ministry will be held soon to further discuss the matter.

Mestecc Minister Yeo Bee Yin had previously said that all plastic exports brought into the country under false pretenses would be returned to the respective countries they came from.

Yeo mentioned a thorough investigation to identify the relevant countries and companies exporting contaminated materials will also be done. These findings will then be delivered to the relevant ministries to come up with directives to ban waste.

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