Downturn of the petroleum sector had adversely affected Labuan’s income by over 50%
By D KANYAKUMARI / Graphic By TMR
The government is allocating more than RM457 million for the Labuan Development Blueprint, which will focus on developing other sectors to prevent a repeat of the oil price crash and the adverse impact on the local economy.
Federal Territory of Labuan MP Datuk Rozman Isli (graphic) said the downturn of the petroleum sector had adversely affected Labuan’s income by over 50%, and about 10,000 locals had to leave the freeport island to seek jobs in other states.
“We have been badly affected by the downturn due to the oil prices, and are still facing the after effects.
“Thousands of Labuan youths, not only those attached to the oil and gas (O&G) industry but all other businesses, had been affected.
“Many other businesses had closed down and the economy basically crashed,” he told The Malaysian Reserve.
Rozman said, however, many locals on the island are still employed in the petroleum sector and have maintained a strong human capital to support the industry.
“But, of course we want to diversify. We want to make it such a way that we are less vulnerable (in case of another downturn).
“We will be strengthening the financial sector alongside the O&G industry, and will be developing the education sector and public services,” he said. Rozman said what many investors in Labuan did not realise is that there are many other sectors that they could take advantage of, which would be underlined in the blueprint.
Rozman said with the construction of the Menumbok-Labuan bridge, there will be no issue on connectivity.
“The bridge is actually like a kickstarter project, funded by the government to gain investors’ confidence.
“Once it is underway, it will set the path for the private sectors to step in and invest in other projects,” he said.
Rozman said among the sectors the state is planning to develop are wealth management, tourism, shipping, aviation and motorsport.
He said the government feels that an international motorsport circuit, which is set to begin construction early this year, is one of the big attractions on the island.
“The government is allocating RM7 million, of which RM3 million is for the first phase of the project, which commences early this year.
“This circuit will be a mini circuit and it’s mainly for superbike races, go-kart, drag racing and drifting,” he said.
But he said, the biggest investment in Labuan is the people’s housing project (PPR) flats.
“The Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Ministry is spending RM107 million for the 500 units of PPR flats which will be located near the blue mosque.
“They will also be spending on a housing project for government staff. This project is known as the 1Malaysia Civil Servant Housing Scheme,” he said.