October 12, 2017
Speech Delivered by The Honourable Tan Sri Dato' Sri Haji Mohamed Apandi bin Ali, the Attorney-General of Malaysia at KLRCA
First of all, let us offer our gratitude to Allah Subhanahu Wata’ala for His grace that we are here in this august hall today. I am greatly honoured and privileged to address the participants of the second Maritime Law Conference 2017 this morning.
Thus, allow me to start by applauding Legal Plus Sdn. Bhd. and the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law (IMSML) for the successful organization of this second Maritime Law Conference 2017.
As an industry that plays a pivotal role in the global economy it should be expected that things will not always remain the same. Changes are inevitable and once these changes occur, it is expected that we rise up to them. These are stark realities and it is one of the reasons why I find the conference timely and invaluable.
I am particularly interested with the theme of this conference “Currents of Change: Meeting Challenges”. To me, the theme is definitely on point. It clearly resonates one of the most vital features in all changes; that it also comes with sets of difficult challenges. In this case, currents of changes in our maritime industry is not excluded.
Having said that, I believed the benefits of attending a conference like this are enormous; both to the participants and the industry. With the presence of so many local and foreign experts in a single event like we are in today, I am certain that we are able to maximize the opportunities presented during this conference.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a nation with 90% of its trading activities relies on maritime transports, we need to get on with the times so we are not left behind in the scheme of things. Our position as one of the top 30 nations in terms of shipping does not leave us with any room for complacency. Industry players from the government and the private sectors alike, need to play its role to ensure that our maritime environment is at its most conducive all the time.
Talking from my perspective as the Attorney General of Malaysia, my Chambers too played a role in many legislative reforms to ensure that our maritime laws are updated and revised so that they are at par with international standards.
As you are aware, the Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2017 which amended the Merchant Shipping Ordinance 1952 (“MSO 1952”) has been passed by the Parliament on 16th of August 2017. This amendment was made to make our domestic laws in compliance with our international obligation under the International Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (“MLC 2006”) and the International Standard of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCM) Manila Amendment 2010. But most importantly, this amendment is another step taken towards realizing the Government’s aspiration in making Malaysia a prominent maritime nation that has a dynamic and high standard laws and regulations.
Among the significant amendments includes the introduction of new Part IIA, IIB and IIC to provide for a better regulation on registration of ships in Malaysia and to establish a fund known as the Malaysia Shipping Development Fund.
Since MSO 1952 is a pre-Merdeka law, my Chambers via the Law Revision and Law Reform Divisions in collaboration with the Ministry of Transport (“MOT”) and Marine Department Malaysia (“MARDEP”) have also taken the initiatives to look into a more holistic reform on the law. This project is expected to be finalized in the near future.
Reforms on MSO 1952 are just a friction of what we have in our legislative reform master plan. More initiatives are in the pipeline. For example, Bills of Carriage of Goods By Sea Act 2017 (“COGSA”) is currently being drafted to replace the existing laws in Malaysia in relation to carriage of goods by sea.
As you are aware, the governing statute on the law of carriage of goods by sea in West Malaysia is the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1950, which adopts the International Convention for the Unification of Certain Rules of Law Relating to Bills of Lading 1924 (“Hague Rules”). However, Hague Rules was revised in 1968 and known as the “Hague-Visby Rules”. Hence, the proposal to draft the COGSA is also made so that it is in compliance with the Hague-Visby Rules.
Next in the list is the drafting of Bills of Lading and Analogous Shipping Document Bill Act 2017 (“BOLA”) which is a new legal instrument aimed to govern the receipt and consignment of cargo. The Bill is drafted to ensure that the existing laws relating to it are at par with laws in other countries which follows the UK Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1992 and to remove reliance upon the archaic test under the English Bill of Ladings Act 1855.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With all the legislative reforms in the pipeline, it is my ardent hope that the proposed legislative changes will assist in raising the standard of Malaysia’s shipping industry to a more enviable level. Subject to the policy agreed by the Government, the Attorney General’s Chambers would do our utmost best to assist and co-operate on these endeavors, wherever possible.
Be that as it may, let us remind ourselves that the maritime industry in Malaysia has come a long way and I think we have adapted so well to a lot of changes throughout the years. As captured by the theme of this conference, the currents of change are still with us and will always be with us along the way. It will, therefore, be in our best interest to move with the tide rather than against it.
In this regard, allow me to accolade the establishment of the Admiralty Court in 2010, which I think is the watershed moment in the evolution of our nation’s maritime industry. It sets a milestone for Malaysia as it marks the nation’s willingness to implement structural enhancement to its current legal system, with a view of making Malaysia a favorable jurisdiction to resolve maritime disputes. This measure also acts as a catalyst towards the development of the nation’s maritime stature.
Indeed, the swift and dynamic procedures as applied in the Malaysian Admiralty Courts and its user-friendly Admiralty Court User Guide as launched in November last year demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiencies of our courts in undertaking and handling shipping disputes. This has successfully promoted the good stature of our Admiralty Court in the international maritime fora.
On this note, I hope that the User Guide will not only boost the efficiency of our Admiralty Court but also promote Malaysia’s transparency in maritime dispute resolution which eventually, will elevate Malaysia’s status as a conducive international maritime dispute resolution forum.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In terms of our international participation in the maritime industry, Malaysia is proud to have been a member of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) for more than four decades now. We have been the Council Member under Category C since 2005 and this year, Malaysia had also submitted its candidature to the IMO Council under Category C for the 30th Regular Session of the IMO Assembly in which the election will be held next month.
As a Council member, Malaysia plays an active role in the formulation of international maritime policies, and is an active participant and organizer in numerous training programs to foster co-operations and good-working relationships with the other member countries.
At the national level, the Government had recently launched Malaysia Shipping Master Plan (2017-2022) entitled “Revitalizing Shipping for a Stronger Economy” in order to strengthen and revitalize the Malaysian shipping industry and to meet the challenges of the future.
This Master Plan aims to chart the long-term direction of the shipping industry in Malaysia focusing on five core areas which includes to promote employment of Malaysian ships and employment of Malaysian seafarers and maritime human resources; to facilitate access to capital and financing; to enhance Malaysia’s attractiveness to shipping businesses and to promote innovation in and sustainable growth of maritime ancillary services.
Through this Master Plan, it is hoped that it can steer us in the right direction in realizing our aspiration to be one of the key players in the maritime industry and eventually, contribute to the well-being of our nation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I have mentioned earlier, every one of us here has a role to play to ensure that we are at our best form. To quote Henry Ford "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself."
Of course, “Rome was not built in one day”. Works of great significance like building our reputation in the maritime industry takes time and requires a lot of hard work. With Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas ranked among the top 20 Container Ports in the World, I think we have done relatively well in this industry for our nation. This shows we are heading toward a positive direction.
But, let us not rest on our laurels. We are far from our desired destination. We need to continue being progressive so that we can build an industry we all can be proud of.
We need to continue tapping into the enormous potential that the industry has got to offer. We need to strategically address issues that effects maritime confidence building like maritime security at our territorial waters. In our quest to emerge as a prominent maritime industry player, we should not lose sight on issues such as maritime environment and how to keep our maritime industry environmentally friendly. In a nutshell, we need to continue striving to be a force to be reckoned with among the maritime nations.
As I have said before, this is not a destination but a continuous challenging journey. Yes, there are a lot more to be done; and rough seas to sail. These are neither the Government’s nor your job alone. It is our job as a nation called “Malaysia”.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
With that, I thank the organizer again for the opportunity to address this gathering and I thank you for your attention. I wish all of you a fruitful conference.
 Deputy Minister of Transport’s speech in Dewan Rakyat dated 8 August 2017. Source : Hansard dated 8th August 2017 during the Second Reading of Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2017
 Review of Maritime Transport 2016 published by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
 Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2017 has not come into force. Section 1 of the bill provides that the Act shall come into force on a date to be appointed by the Minister (Minister of Transport). Drafting Division AGC is currently preparing the YDPA’s Copy for His Highness’s Royal Assent.
 Hansard dated 8th August 2017 during the Second Reading of Merchant Shipping Ordinance (Amendment) Bill 2017
 COGSA is drafted to replace the existing laws in Malaysia in relation to the following laws relating to carriage of goods by sea which includes Carriage of Goods By Sea Act 1950 [Act 527] in East Malaysia, Merchant Shipping (Implementation of Conventions Relating to Carriage of Goods by Sea and to Liability Of Ship owners and Others) Regulations 1960 of Sarawak and Merchant Shipping (Applied Subsidiary Legislation) Regulations 1961 in Sabah.
 The Rules also extend to the East Malaysian states of Sarawak -- by virtue of the Merchant Shipping (Implementation of Conventions relating to the Carriage of Goods by Sea and to Liability of Shipowners and Others) Regulations 1960 -- and Sabah by the Merchant Shipping (Applied Subsidiary Legislation) Regulations 196.
 Judicial insight by Justice Nallini Pathmanan in the Malaysian Judiciary Yearbook 2016 entitled “Working Towards Development a Comprehensive System of Admiralty and Maritime Dispute Resolution”.
 The Admiralty Court User Guide was launched by the Bar Council Shipping and Admiralty Law Committee who had worked closely with the Judiciary, Attorney General’s Chambers, Maritime Institute of Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Regional Center for Arbitration and the International Malaysian Society of Maritime Law.
 Malaysia is a member of IMO since 1971
 Malaysia Shipping Master Plan (2017-2022) published by Ministry of Transport.