Admit failure and return Labuan
Published on: Sunday, December 01, 2019
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TWO letters in Sunday Forum recently provided facts and figures that the Federal Government had failed to develop and introduce economic projects in Labuan to sustain an island population of less than 100,000 people. 

Federal Ministers, Chief Executive Officers and Board Members have all failed to develop a sustainable economy for Labuan which is also only 22,000 acres. The response by Labuan Corporation published on Sunday Forum 17th November 2019 merely acknowledge their failures. The argument for the failure presented cannot sustain any logical or intelligent argument. 

It is contended that if Singapore and Sipitang can overcome environmental issues (imposed by the white man), why can’t Labuan, especially if it is genuinely interested in the livelihood of its 100,000 people.

Labuan Corporation must explain to the people of Labuan the following:

1. Why there has not been a single economic project established in the 50 years?

2. Why the numerous announcements for economic development projects submitted by the Private Sector all failed to take off the ground?

The excuses given are just to con Labuan people that the projects presented did not conform with Environmental Studies, and that reclamation of seabed is not allowed as they would destroy Labuan Marine Life. This reason completely out of touch as proven by (i) Singapore has increased its area by 34,000 acres (26pc) between 1965 to 2015, 

(ii) Brunei reclaimed 10,000 acres at Pulau Besar, 

(iii) Sipitang has reclaimed 4,000 acres, and 

(iv) Tanjung Aru (Sabah) another 2,000 acres. All these reclamations are almost completed with no environmental impact. Labuan Corporation must explain why seabed cannot be reclaimed when it badly needs additional areas for Economic Projects.

3. Can Labuan Corporation provide an area of 500-1,000 acres for the establishment of economic projects on Labuan Island itself?

4. Why the three famous high rise Financial Centre Buildings are empty?

5. Why Bankers and Financial Executives are still allowed to operate from Kuala Lumpur?

6. Is it simply to exist as a fishing Village (Patau Patau Fishing Village) in the middle of Labuan Village Town?

7. Why Labuan is being treated at par with Kuala Lumpur or Putrajaya, particularly on consideration for economic development projects. Conclusive evidence of these areas:-

a) Land alienation seabed premium at RM1 million per acre versus Johor where it is only RM1.00 for 10 acres for the industrial land at Pasir Gudang;

b) The imposition when it started industrialisation, of the assessment rate which increased 1,000pc from RM300 to RM3,000. This is not Kuala Lumpur, and the economic income between Labuan and Kuala Lumpur is far far less – a ratio of 1 to 100 times, so how can the rate in Labuan be equated to that in Kuala Lumpur. This is nonsense.

8. Why are the Committees of Labuan Corporation such land Utilisation Committee and others manned out of Kuala Lumpur, without much representation by the people of Labuan?

9. Why the need for 3,000 Malayan Civil Servants to administer Labuan, which is only 22,000 acres with a population of less than 100,000? Before the handing over, there were only 100 Sabahan Civil Servants administering Labuan.

10. Labuan Corporation and the Federal government claimed that Labuan has the highest Per Capita Income compared to Kuala Lumpur, Johor or Penang. This means that now, with only 60,000 population, a family per Capita Income is about RM10,000 a month. Can Labuan Corporation say why with such income levels there are still many unemployed and poor people? 

Despite the claim of a monthly income of RM10,000, the Labuan people are still choosing to move to Sabah from time to time. This has resulted in a reduction of the population from 100,000 to only 60,000. Most importantly also explain why there are reports by the sole Member of Parliament of families asking for money to buy milk for their children?

These questions are important for the people of Labuan to know as it will dictate their future as to whether to move out of Labuan, or just wait for food to drop from the sky. The newly appointed Chief Executive Officer must be honest and tell the people of Labuan the truth, including why economic project after project submitted cannot be approved because Sabah and Sarawak’s presence had demanded that Labuan be left as “Padang Perkukur”, otherwise Sabah and Sarawak will proceed with their hidden agendas to be on their own.

Lastly, if the Chief Executive Officer along with the 3,000 Malayan Civil Servants are incapable of developing Labuan into a sustainable economy, then it is best to hand Labuan back to Sabah.

Awang Kenit


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