KUALA LUMPUR: The Dewan Rakyat’s approval of the Carriage of Goods by Sea (Amendment) Bill 2019 recently shows the government is further addressing the gaps in existing laws in order to foster greater trade facilitation.

The Transport Ministry in a statement on Dec 10 said it is timely for Malaysia to make amendments to Act 527 (Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1950) and this initiative clearly reflects Malaysia’s strong commitments to adapt Good Regulatory Practice (GRP).

“At the same time, it can boost global maritime industries and shipping communities’ confidence in Malaysia as a regional maritime transportation hub.

“The advantages of the amendments are to improve the standards applied in future sea freight transportation transactions regarding liability limits, types of liabilities and recognition of documents relating to the carriage of goods by sea,” the statement said.

Taking into consideration Act 527 as a pre-Merdeka law that has never been amended since 1950 and adheres solely to the Hague Rules, the government acknowledged the need for Act 527 to be amended to update Malaysia’s primary legislation that regulates matters on the carriage of goods by sea.

The amendments also provide a remedy to recognise electronic sea carriage documentation in line with modern trade requirements, it explained.

The statement added that Act 527 is amended in sections 4 and 6 to broaden the scope of documents relating to shipping transactions by inserting “sea carriage documents” and it also introduces a new section 6A into Act 527 to allow the Minister of Transport to amend the Schedule of Act 527 by order published in the government gazette.

“Such flexibility provides an avenue for Malaysia’s domestic law to be improved from time to time in parallel with  the dynamics of the global maritime industry and the order made under the new section 6A and the Bill will come into operation simultaneously,” it said.

On Dec 4, the Dewan Rakyat approved the bill to update Malaysia’s primary legislation that regulates matters on the carriage of goods by sea through the application of principles and standards provided in Hague Visby Rules and SDR Protocol, akin to the principles and standards prescribed by many of Malaysia’s trading partners. – Bernama

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