FMT’s report published yesterday titled “More professionals to head port authorities, says transport minister” is actually an old issue.
Nevertheless, thanks to the current transport minister for starting a debate on whether port authorities should continue to exist or be abolished.
Another option is to merge them all into a single national authority to provide some credence and offer its diminishing role a meaningful regulatory continuity, especially in the collection of yearly lease payments from privatised port operators.
Way back in 1995, when ports were busily being privatised by the government, a study into the residual authority or the remnants of the privatised port entities was undertaken by the government.
Somehow, the study recommendations were not followed through and never implemented.
That study considered what took place in Singapore and how the separation of powers, both in terms of port regulations, responsibility and day-to-day port operations, were carried out on the island republic, enabling it to be a leading port in the world.
The Port of Singapore Authority is still the number one in the world. So it must have done it right and obviously with the right structure and regulatory framework, too.