LABUAN: Local lawmaker Datuk Rozman Isli has suggested turning the Labuan Airport into a Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) to serve the East Asia region.
He said this is being considered as a means to lure in local and foreign investors as well as tourists from the region. He said he will raise the issue with the relevant authorities.
“We will continue to improve the connectivity of the island to link it to other cities and countries in the future,” he told a press conference here Saturday, stressing that tourism could bring in big receipts and spur the economy which has been dependent largely on oil and gas.
Rozman said Labuan boasted various tourist attractions and its ‘sun and sea’ as well as dive packages could attract a niche market the whole year round.
The Member of Parliament for Labuan also called on employers in the oil and gas-related sector (O&G) to implement a policy of ‘First in Last out’ (FILO) in the employment and manpower planning for locals in Labuan.
The new policy is to help reduce the number of jobless locals following the downsizing, restructuring and rightsizing of the various companies’ operation, affected by the slowdown of the oil and gas sector.
“The policy means to give priority of employment opportunity (First In) to locals in Labuan, and if the company resorts to retrenchment or lay-off due to the downsizing exercise, let the local Labuan be the last.
“With the domestic economic pressure after the island’s heavily dependent oil and gas sector is badly hit, we want the O&G employers operating on the island to introduce the FILO policy to help locals in Labuan,” he added.
Rozman said the current economic slowdown on the island was beyond the government’s control, and efforts are in the cards to turn around the island’s economy with focus on the more sustainable sector of tourism.
He said a number of meetings were held with various federal ministries to find ways and strategies to help boost the economic activities on the island especially in the tourism sector.
“What we are doing now is to ensure the small projects to continue as this will help generate income to local traders and improve suppliers’ turnover,” he said.
Rozman, who is also Labuan Corporation chairman, said as this year would still be a challenging time for the people on the island especially the business community, he urged the people to be more prudent in spending and to remain productive at work.
“We strongly hope the economy will rebound end of this year, and be back on track next year.