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Labuan Towkays urged to play a more active role

Published on: Friday, January 03, 2014

Labuan: The island's "towkays" should play a more active role in its economic transformation as Labuan cannot depend on public sector spending alone to propel to greater heights.

Member of Parliament Rozman Datuk Isli said this during a Chinese New Year dinner hosted by the Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce at the Multi-Purpose Hall here.

"The towkays should come out of the box and aspire to run big business corporations and get public listed.

Companies that achieve such status would have credibility and Labuan Corporation (LC) could partner them in major projects on the island and help it to move forward at a faster pace," he said.

He added that as the local Member of Parliament, he was obliged to give opportunities to the local business community, "but the local business community must have the standing and capability."

Rozman also said the coming lunar Year of the Horse would be one with opportunities and challenges.

He said the oil and gas sector would churn out opportunities from the surging activities in the sector, "but challenges would also be faced when logistics support and supplies base for the oil and gas industry are established in Brunei and the Philippines (Palawan)."

Rozman said though Labuan was better established with the Asian Supply Base acknowledged as a world-class player and was accredited by numerous international rating agencies, "we cannot rest on our laurels, the best is to diversify and that is why we need the private sector to be active."

On the Chinese Chamber, Rozman commended its committee led by Datuk Wong Kii Hii, saying Wong had made a huge impact on the business community though being the chairman for the first term.

He added that he appreciated the constructive feedback the chamber had offered on various issues and hoped this cordial relationship would continue.

Wong, in his speech, said the chamber elections are due in May, by which time he would have completed his third year and fresh elections would be held. The Chamber would also mark its 70th Anniversary next year.

Wong pledged that he was willing to give way to any capable candidate eyeing the post. "It is against my personal policy to hold on tight to a position if there are indications that I am no longer wanted."

Also present were Senator Datuk Haji Yunus Kurus, LC CEO Datuk Mohd Nazri Othman, Chairman of other chambers of commerce leaders of Barisan Nasional component parties.