The federal government has received a letter from the Sarawak government regarding its request to take over the administration of the port, located around 626 kilometres (km) from here, he said.
He added that a meeting involving the relevant agency will be held to obtain the views of various parties about the port’s status.
“Negotiations will be started as the letter has been just received. We will also discuss with the Finance Ministry to look at the views of the federal government to see if they agree to hand over the administration of the port to Sarawak, in accordance to the provisions in the Federal Constitution and the Inter-Government Committee (IGC),” he told reporters after attending Terawih prayers at Darul Ibadah Mosque here tonight.
Sarawak premier Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg had said in January that Sarawak would discuss with the federal government to not carry on with Bintulu Port as a federal port.
According to Abang Johari, the move would allow the port to be managed and developed as a state port, changing it into a transportation hub in the Asia Pacific region.
In other developments, Fadillah said that the Sabah and Sarawak governments are requesting that undeveloped federal government owned land be returned to their respective state governments.
The deputy prime minister said currently three parcels of land in Sarawak and two in Sabah have been identified as undeveloped.
“During the council meeting chaired by the prime minister (Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim), this (the decision whether to return the land) will be decided but I am calling for a technical meeting involving the Sabah and Sarawak governments along with the federal government to study the matter in further detail,” he added.