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Labuan Chamber urges more positive econ news
Published on: Thursday, September 21, 2023
By: Bernama
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Labuan Chamber urges more positive econ news
Kong said to foster Labuan’s economic development, community leaders and industry captains should collaborate with Labuan Corporation (LC) chairman Senator Tan Sri Anifah Aman.  - Pic for illustration only
LABUAN: Labuan Chinese Chamber of Commerce (LCCC) deputy president Arthur Kong said highlighting Labuan’s economic challenges in the media by community leaders may cause more harm than good.

“Although they genuinely care about Labuan’s dire economic situation, airing these grievances in the media can sometimes deter potential investors and visitors (from coming), despite their noble intentions,” he told Bernama.

Kong said rather than airing these issues publicly, it would be more effective to address them directly and professionally with the relevant authorities. “Often, when negative news is published, it exacerbates the situation, one example is the recent complaint in the news regarding Customs restrictions that only allow visitors to Labuan to bring out four cans of beer. “This news, while criticising Customs for their strict control, has actually discouraged many visitors from coming to Labuan,” he noted.

Kong, who is also a prominent duty-free importer and retailer in Labuan, said it would have been more productive to communicate this dissatisfaction directly to the Customs or the Ministry of Finance (MoF) internally.

“Sadly, after the news broke, many of our friends cancelled their weekly trips to Labuan, deeming the limited beer allowance not worth the eight-hour round trip.

“Even after the restrictions are relaxed, the damage has already been done,” he said.

Kong said to foster Labuan’s economic development, community leaders and industry captains should collaborate with Labuan Corporation (LC) chairman Senator Tan Sri Anifah Aman. “During his ten years as Malaysia’s foreign minister, he handled numerous delicate international situations, making him well-equipped for this role.

“Now that Labuan’s administration falls under the Prime Minister’s department, Anifah’s role as chairman is pivotal for Labuan’s future…patience and time should be afforded to the LC chairman to deliver the desired results,” Kong said.

Kong’s perspective is shared by LCCC vice-president Eric Wong and Labuan Indian Chamber of Commerce Secretary Balvir Singh, who emphasised that negative news or grievances should not dominate news out of Labuan.

They said to support Labuan’s economy, it is essential to highlight positive news.

“For instance, the imminent return of the sign-on/sign-off requirement for the oil and gas (O&G) sector to Labuan is a promising development. “With the establishment of an immigration counter (for crew change) at Asian Supply Base Sdn Bhd (ASB), Labuan will witness a daily influx of hundreds of O&G sector workers into the island. “This is expected to significantly boost the local economy, benefitting hoteliers, F&B establishments, shopping outlets, and the entertainment industry.

“Positive news like this will attract more businesses to invest in Labuan to cater to the growing demand, potentially leading to a substantial economic upturn for the island,” they said.

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