Fary Akmal, New Labuan Corp CEO Takes Up The Challenge

LABUAN: Dr Fary Akmal Osman is unperturbed by the challenge of helming the local authority in this international business and financial centre.

“I am ready to take on the challenge and I will perform my duties to the best of my ability,” said the 43-year-old chief executive officer of Labuan Corporation.

FARY AKMAL

She was appointed to the post on July 10, the first woman to head a local authority in the federal territories, and she is “both humbled and honoured by my new role”. She succeeded Datuk Azhar Ahmad who has been transferred to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

Fary obtained her bachelor’s degree from De Montfort University in the United Kingdom said she is looking forward to making a huge difference in her new position.

“I am very honoured that I have been recognised for services I have provided for the government as well as our people. It is daunting but I’m excited because I like challenges. For me, it’s all about serving and trying to make a difference,” she said.

Fary said her first priority is to ensure the effective, efficient, and economic management and planning of the local authority and to maintain the appropriate standards of integrity and conduct among the employees.

“You can’t begin to function if internally you are not serving each other. If you can’t get that right, you can’t even begin to render services,” she stressed.

Fary said she is aware that Labuan also faces major economic challenges and hopes to tackle that in the interest of the people.

“Being a local authority, Labuan Corporation, besides being the law enforcer, must function as an effective and transparent facilitator for business activities and investments deals. We must assume greater responsibility for and involvement in tourism destination planning and development,” she said.

Some of the areas she hopes to improve within Labuan Corporation are the systems, processes, structure and functions “to make sure that they are streamlined and connected to our long-term vision and goals to ensure that the service provided is the quality that is expected of us”.

Fary wants Labuan Corporation to be proactive in providing the infrastructure to lure investors to the island.

“Among the other areas to be focused on are promoting Labuan internationally and to the foreign investors who have businesses in Kuala Lumpur, such as the international business chambers of Japan and the European Union, British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce and United States Chamber of Commerce.

“I will initiate meetings with the leaders of the international chambers on Labuan’s business potential. I will also invite foreign ambassadors based in Malaysia to visit Labuan on business potential and strategic partnerships,” she said.

She said the standard operating procedure (SOP) will continue to be strengthened to ensure that Labuan Corporation is on track and free from political meddling and bureaucracy, and thus enhances its integrity.

“For instance, project development distribution must be a transparent process. We want those in politics to have full respect for the principles of the local authority of freeing itself from corrupt elements,” she said.

She said education is another sector that can be embraced, with the establishment of the branches of private higher learning institutions.

Fary, having spent about two months here, said Labuan’s tourism sector is still not fully explored and there are plenty of areas that can still be developed. She noted a lack of star-rated hotels and resorts which can be developed by tourism operators.

“If we talk about tourism, we must have sufficient and attractive tourism products with improved facilities …this also includes the logistics area that can be enhanced, be it sea or air,” she said.

She also said that to take Labuan to greater heights, the island requires huge funding as much of the infrastructure is in need of replacement and upgrading.

“We need funds in the 2020 budget to upgrade our tourism facilities, ferry terminals and Labuan containerised port to attract investors, not forgetting our four water villages where bridges are in need of repair for the benefit of the villagers,” Fary said.