Kit Siang taken to task over Labuan devt issue

LABUAN: The Member of Parliament for Labuan, Datuk Rozman Isli, and Labuan People Representative Council (Labuan MPP) jointly took DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang to task over his recent statement claiming that Labuan’s development is not comparable to Kangar, Perlis.

They said the opposition leader’s statement was unfounded and merely an allegation based on ‘hearsay’ for the party’s political propaganda.

Labuan has been able to bridge the infrastructure gap with other states with the completion of various infrastructure development projects such as the RM342 million Labuan Airport, the almost RM30 million Labuan International Golf Course (LIGC), International Ferry Terminal, International Lawn Bawl, University Malaysia Sabah, Labuan International Campus (UMSKAL), Sports Complex, International Sea Sports Complex, Labuan Matriculation College, hospital with better facilities, and the nearly completion of RM12 million food court project among others.

“Labuan which is strategically located within the East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) has made it economically viable to investors in the region,” they said.

Rozman said the people in the duty-free-island had enjoyed rapid development since its elevation into a Federal Territory more than 32 years ago.

Kit Siang made a statement in Sabah early this month, claiming Labuan is not even a ‘little Kangar’, let alone a ‘Little Singapore’, as it was hoped to be 32 years after becoming a Federal Territory.

“The opposition leader has made a blunder and unfounded statement which will not able to convince the people at large. We are united and continue to rally behind the federal government,” Rozman said.

He said Kit Siang should have come to Labuan more often to see the development changes brought by the federal government through the Federal Territory Ministry alongside the Putrajaya and Kuala Lumpur.

“Being a native of this island and MP here, Labuan has been transformed in two waves of economy, with the first wave through former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, followed by the second wave when the island was elevated into a Federal Territory.

“Certainly, we need the third wave to further accelerate the island’s economy and develop it further that is through the Labuan Development Blue Print,” he said.

He said the blue print (still being finalised) of which its implementation up to 2030 was expected to transform the island’s development landscape.

Rozman said the island’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita is 56,000 compared to national average growth of 36,000.

“The GDP growth rate for 2010-2015 is nine per cent compared to the national average of five per cent, and this has made Labuan one of the major contributors to the national coffers,” he said.

Meanwhile, MPP chairman Bongsu Mohammad at a press conference yesterday said the federal government had turned the island into Malaysia’s only international financial services and oil and gas hub.

“The island’s status in the two important sectors has made it regularly visited by the expatriates with the establishment of the international firms on the island,” he said.

Bongsu said the MPP representing the 27 villages and more than 10 housing estates with a population of almost 100,000 was strongly protesting  Kit Siang’s allegation, describing his statement as politically motivated to gain  popularity in Sabah and Labuan.

“The improved connectivity from the island to mainland Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei evidently showed the government’s sensitivity towards the people’s needs,” he said.