10 October 2011

Dato' Sri Kong Cho Ha, Minister for Transport, Malaysia

Dato' Capt Ahmad bin Othman, Director General of Marine, Marine Department, Malaysia

Mr Leon Muhammad, Director General for Sea Transportation, Indonesia

Heads of Delegations,


Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen

A very good morning to all of you.

My delegation and I are very pleased to join you today in this beautiful and historic city of Malacca for the 4th Co-operation Forum on Safety of Navigation and Environmental Protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

First, please allow me to, on behalf of my delegation, extend my heartfelt appreciation to our Malaysian hosts for the excellent arrangement and wonderful hospitality. Our hosts have chosen a particularly apt venue for this meeting that allows us a good view of the Strait of Malacca.

Today's Co-operation Forum, under the chairmanship of Malaysia, is a milestone for the Co-operative Mechanism. With the completion of the first round of chairmanship of the Co-operation Forum among the three littoral States, this Co-operation Forum kicks off the second cycle of chairmanship since the Co-operative Mechanism was launched at the IMO-Singapore Meeting in September 2007. That the Co-operative Mechanism has come this far suggests that it remains relevant and important for enhancing safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Given the importance of the Co-operative Mechanism, I am deeply heartened by the good progress it has made and the strong support it has received. Under the Co-operative Mechanism, the littoral States have taken significant technological and regulatory measures to enhance navigational safety and environmental protection in the Straits.

For example, we tested the usefulness of installing AIS-B transponders on vessels under 300 GT and are in the process of setting up a wind, tide and current measurement system in the Straits. We are also considering the feasibility of establishing emergency towage response capabilities along the Straits, and continue to maintain the all-important aids to navigation.

All these good work has been possible only with the support of the contributors to the Co-operative Mechanism. Without their strong support of the Aids to Navigation Fund, the Co-operation Forum, the Straits Projects and the IMO Straits of Malacca and Singapore Fund, the Co-operative Mechanism could not have made such good progress.

I would thus like to take this opportunity to thank key contributors like the People's Republic of China, European Union, Germany, Greece, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and the United States. I would also like to thank the Nippon Foundation, the Malacca Strait Council, Middle East Navigation Aids Service, and last but definitely not least, the IMO. I would like to urge them to continue their support of the Co-operative Mechanism, and through their example, encourage others to do so.

Besides the user States and contributors, I am very glad to see that the Roundtable of international shipping associations are also working with us towards the same goals. Since the Roundtable was first involved in the Co-operative Mechanism during the 2nd Co-operation Forum in 2009, much progress has been made. The littoral States held a 3+Industry Meeting in Jakarta in July 2010. Earlier this year, two Technical Working Groups with the Roundtable were also formed under the TTEG to carry out work on navigational safety and environmental protection.

An example of the good work being carried under these Technical Working Groups is a review and enhancement of measures implemented in the Straits. This is an important process that will benefit from the valuable perspectives of the users of the Straits. We look forward to hearing more from the Roundtable during the course of this Forum. With their experience and expertise, I am certain that the Roundtable will be able to contribute significantly to the Co-operative Mechanism.

Ladies and gentlemen, what happens in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore impacts not just the littoral States, but also trade and prosperity in the region and beyond. This second cycle of chairmanship for the Co-operation Forum is a new beginning of sorts - for new ideas, new initiatives and even greater progress. The Co-operation Forum brings together important user States and stakeholders of the Straits and this is a rare opportunity for all of us here to share our views and perspectives on important issues affecting the Straits. I look forward to two days of fruitful discussions and networking and to the further enhancement of our partnership in enhancing safety of navigation and environmental protection in the Straits of Malacca and Singapore.

Thank you very much.