Enhance port competitiveness, productivity instead of worrying about Thai land bridge – Loke

PUTRAJAYA, Nov 21: Malaysia must be steadfast in enhancing its ports’ competitiveness and productivity, instead of worrying about Thailand’s proposed land bridge project, said Transport Minister Anthony Loke.

“What’s important is that we must improve ourselves in terms of efficiency, resilience and productivity. Shipping lines will only come to your ports when you have cargo to take in and take out. There is nothing to be worried about,” he said at the media conference, after chairing the National Logistics Taskforce meeting, here today.

Commenting on Thailand’s plan to build a land bridge as an important alternative, cutting shipping times between the Indian and Pacific oceans by bypassing the congested Straits of Melaka, Loke said Malaysia would closely follow the project’s development.

“Firstly, it (land bridge) has not been built yet, it is just a proposal. The proposal to build a canal in Thailand has been going on for the past several years, and is yet to become a reality,” he said.

On Nov 14, Thai Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, proposed a 1 trillion Baht (100 Baht = RM13.08) land bridge project to investors in the United States, promoting the shipping route shortcut as a cheaper, faster, and safer alternative to the Melaka Straits.

On another development, Loke said that tinted car windows are an option, and parents with children are advised not to put up any tinted glass to ensure the safety of their kids inside the car.

“In terms of tinted glass, it was necessary for certain people for health and security reasons. We can’t ban the entire thing just because of one problem,” he said.

Loke was responding to the Women, Family, and Community Development Ministry’s proposal to ban tinted car windows, following three fatal incidents in the last two months involving children being left in locked vehicles.