‘Negaraku, Negara Maritim’
Workshop on branding Malaysia as a Maritime Nation
Ministry of Transport Malaysia, Putrajaya
25 July 2017
Malaysia is a country blessed with a strategic location along two of the world’s key shipping routes, Straits of Malacca and South China Sea, which are also rich with living and non-living resources. It boasts superb trade facilitating infrastructures such as ports, roads and airports, and has a long and proud history in seaborne trade, harking back to the glorious Malacca Sultanate period in the 15th century when Malacca Port emerged as one of the world’s premiere merchant ports of its time.
Today, Malaysia can boast many credentials in the field of maritime. In Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas, it has two of the world’s 20 busiest container ports in terms of throughput handled. In MISC, it has a shipping company of international reach, aa major player in energy shipping. IT has shipyards that build quality vessels coveted by foreign buyers, and a range of companies providing international-standard support services to the marine industries. An estimated 90% of its trade volumes are carried by ships, while its offshore energy sector contributes significantly to its GDP. Fishery, marine tourism and many other marine-related activities generate income for the country, provide jobs to many and contribute significantly to socio-economic development.
Malaysia also has strategic interests in the seas surrounding it and beyond. These extend beyond economic interests but encompass security, sovereignty, navigation safety, environmental protection and sustainable resource exploitation. In other words, the seas hold such tremendous importance to the nation and its people. So much so that one of the words in the Malay language referring to the country or motherland is ‘tanah air’, which literally means ‘land and water’.
Given these, it makes perfect sense for Malaysia to be branded as a maritime nation which acknowledges the importance of the seas to its national interests and wellbeing, and smartly uses its natural maritime advantages and resources to generate economic growth. As a maritime nation, Malaysia fully acknowledges its maritime features and colourful maritime history, reaps the benefits of its strategic location along key sealanes, and responsibly exploits its abundant marine resources such as fisheries, oil and gas. The time has come for the formulation of a well-defined strategy, complete with action plans, to position and brand Malaysia as a maritime nation through National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS) to enable it to emerge as truly competitive and renowned maritime nation.
In this regard, the call by the Prime Minister, Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak in March 2017 during the Indian Ocean Rim Association Leaders Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia for Malaysia to articulate a vision to become a maritime nation is a timely one. Given its maritime features and history, dependence on the maritime sector to serve many national interests, and prospect of spurring greater contribution from the maritime sector to its economic growth, Malaysia should appropriately brand itself as maritime nation. This entails not only charting out a long-term strategy to fulfil its potential as far as its maritime features and riches are concerned, but also getting the various agencies, entities and stakeholders to work in concert towards attaining its maritime objectives, serving its maritime interests and enhancing Malaysia’s reputation as a globally renowned player in maritime economic activities, especially in high income, value adding and innovation driven ones.
Ministry of Transport Malaysia (MOT), as the principal government agency overseeing certain aspects of the maritime sector such as ports and shipping, has taken the initiative to organize a workshop drawing cross-sectoral participation of stakeholders involved in the maritime sector and marine industries and activities. The workshop, held at the Ministry on 26 July 2017, saw participants divided into groups to develop and discuss various thrusts, strategies and action plans towards branding Malaysia as a maritime nation through NBOS initiatives.
AMIM’s Honorary Secretary, Nazery Khalid attended the workshop, sharing the perspectives of the marine industries which play a pivotal behind-the scene role in facilitating a range of maritime economic activities such as seaborne trade, ports operations, fishery, marine tourism and exploration and production of offshore oil and gas. AMIM fully supports the national aspiration of making Negaraku Malaysia Negara Maritim and is fully committed to support any initiatives to meet the nation’s maritime interests and enhancing its stand as a globally competitive maritime nation.
Nazery sharing the perspective of the marine industries during the workshop