LABUAN: Labuan has gained much development and enjoyed fairly similar basic infrastructure since it became a federal territory 32 years ago, alongside Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya, which the opposition is said to be unaware of.
Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Labuan’s development and progress was a non-political issue and hence, must not be politicised.
“Labuan has undergone enormous changes in socio-economic development since it was elevated to federal territory.
“What has been criticised by (DAP adviser) Lim Kit Siang on Labuan’s development is inaccurate, as he has not been to Labuan and he does not know about Labuan’s situation before and the various changes on the island currently enjoyed by the people.”
Tengku Adnan said this to reporters after officiating at the 12th Kenduri 1Wilayah (1Territory Feast) in conjunction with the Federal Territories Day celebration, here, Saturday.
He said ample employment opportunities had been created on the island since it was placed under the federal government’s administration and after the island became the country’s international financial centre and oil and gas hub.
“The island has enjoyed the highest committed oil and gas investments from multinational and international companies with the establishment of oil and gas-related plants that activate business and create employment.”
He said among the projects implemented under the federal government were Labuan Airport, Labuan International Golf Course, Urban Transformation Centre, International Lawn Bowl Arena, International Ferry Terminal, hospital, Universiti Malaysia Sabah, Labuan International Campus (UMSKAL) and Labuan Matriculation College.
“The opposition parties merely talk, but we in the federal government walk the talk, not talk the talk. They (opposition) only know to talk rubbish,” Tengku Adnan said.
The minister said the island would soon experience a notable economic transformation with the shift of its heavily-dependence on the oil and gas sector to a more sustainable income-generating tourism sector.
“We are considering turning the island into a premier tourist destination for East Asia through a different approach, or maybe we can turn the island into a low-cost carrier hub for the East Asian markets, namely China, Japan, Korea, Kalimantan and East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA),” he said.
Tengku Adnan also disclosed the on-going discussion between his ministry and two local investors to develop 500 acres of land for a tourism-related hub.
“I have asked the Labuan Corporation officials to visit Boracay in the Philippines to see for themselves how the island has been developed and promoted as the country’s top tourist draw.
“As a matter of fact, Labuan which is blessed with natural beauty and beaches, has vast potential to be developed and promoted further into a tourist destination,” he said.
He noted that the government had always stressed on programmes and initiatives that not only focused on physical development but also on the people.
“The people must be at the centre of development to ensure they enjoy the growth as well.
“I am the ‘village head’ for KL, Putrajaya and Labuan, (but) I do not want the people to support me because I am the ‘menteri’ (minister) but to support the plans the government has made based on the people’s needs,” he said.