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FT Ministry to look into Labuan industry players’ grouses

30 Apr 2019 / 12:34 H.

LABUAN: Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad (pix) says his ministry would look into the various issues plaguing industry players on the island.

Khalid said the issues under the ministry’s purview and jurisdiction would be resolved in stages in the interest of Labuan’s economic development.

However, he said those issues not under his ministry’s jurisdiction would be forwarded to the ministries concerned for possible solutions.

“We understand Labuan’s economic situation, the ministry has never tried to sideline Labuan economically as the island is also one of the federal territories, and we will treat Labuan similarly to Putrajaya in terms of funding and future project development plans,” he said at a special meeting with Labuan’s business chambers coalition here Sunday.

Issues raised included the rice transshipment ban, which the Labuan Chamber of Malay Entrepreneurs (DUML) said had caused Labuan port’s container and cargo handling to dwindle, leading to unemployment and loss of business.

“As we understand it, the transshipment has been lifted and the activity must now go through Customs, but we will check again with the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Agriculture and Ago-Based Industry for details,” he said.

The appointment of DAP’s Kota Kinabalu MP Chan Foong Hin as chairman of the Labuan Port Authority (LPA) was also questioned by the Labuan chambers, who see his appointment as seemingly not in line with the government’s aspiration of seeing the port authority being run professionally.

DUML president Datuk Seri Mohd Alias Abdul Rahman also highlighted the need to appoint experienced and professional local business leaders to the LPA board rather than political appointees, in order to spur the island’s economy.

On another issue, Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce member Chia Sia Theng said Indah Water Consortium’s (IWK) bureaucracy in dealing with the sewage system in certain projects here had created a backlog, with premises unoccupied.

Khalid gave his assurance he would forward the issue to IWK for consideration so as to not hamper the island’s economic activity.

Meanwhile, the Labuan BIMP-EAGA Business Council chairman Azhar Othman said as an international financial centre and moving towards being a smart city by 2030, Labuan needs uninterrupted high-speed internet connection.

“I will direct the Labuan Corporation chairman to immediately look into this issue and deal with the agency concerned,” Khalid said.

Azhar also urged the ministry to look into promoting cruise tourism for Labuan, to which Khalid expressed his ministry’s support, saying the current facilities should be upgraded. — Bernama

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