Hoping that Federal will not object
Published on: Saturday, January 28, 2023
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Hoping that Federal will not object
Yong hoped the Federal Government would not reject outright when such a proposal was made.
Kota Kinabalu: Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) welcomes wholeheartedly the suggestion by re-elected Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Suhaili Abdul Rahman that the island be rightfully returned to Sabah. 

Its President Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee said other than the obvious advantages that have been reported many times, the eventual building of the Labuan Bridge means that Labuan Airport – which is of international standard but underused – can be integrated fully with mainland Sabah. 

“The inconvenience of immigration checks at the Labuan-Sabah border will also become a thing of the past. This integration of Labuan infrastructure with mainland Sabah will bring tremendous economic benefits to both Labuan and mainland Sabah. 

Our report on January 26, 2023.

“Further, SAPP proposes that Labuan, once returned to Sabah, should be given three new seats in the Sabah Legislative Assembly. 

“It is destiny that Labuan will, sooner rather than later, return home to Sabah,” said Yong, who is a Nominated Assemblyman and former Chief Minister.

Yong hoped the Federal Government would not reject outright when such a proposal was made.

Suhaili told Daily Express it is not out of place to seek the return of Labuan to Sabah’s jurisdiction considering that the island’s economy weakened greatly since it was made a Federal Territory 38 years ago without any referendum being held to determine the wishes of the people on the island as well as Sabah. 

He said it was obvious since the 1984 handover that Federal was not serious about transforming the island into a vibrant mini-city like the other two Federal Territories, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. 

He also said with the additional RM2 billion in revenue in sales tax from oil and gas products and Sabah now getting back gas control rights and expected entitlement of 40pc of Federal revenue collected from taxes in Sabah, the State would be in a financial position to manage Labuan better than before. 

He said no doubt the island enjoyed improved infrastructure and as an International Business and Financial Centre (BFC), the economic impact had not been significant and even lost its best privilege of tax-free tobacco.

Most of all, he said, being returned to Sabah would mean being able to enjoy all the rights under the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) which Sabah is pursuing. 

“With said rights, there would also be no more immigration checks to worry about at the ferry terminal or import problems on goods from Sabah,” he said.

Suhaili is not the only one to suggest the island’s return. Another former MP Datuk Rozman Isli expressed similar sentiment when debating in Parliament. He said Labuan was never similarly treated like KL. 

Sabah Umno MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin had also said Labuan would be welcomed by Sabah. 

Labuan was handed over by the Berjaya administration without a sen in compensation, unlike Selangor which was paid RM4 billion for “releasing” Kuala Lumpur in 1974. 

Sabahans punished Berjaya by voting it out of office in the 1985 State Election. At least one Sabahan, Darshan Singh, was jailed under the ISA (Internal Security Act) for protesting while Usno was expelled from the then ruling Barisan Nasional for criticising the handover. 

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