News From : DagangHalal.com (30 Jan 2010)
LABUAN, Jan 31 (Bernama) — The Federal Territory of Labuan, after going through various economic challenges in its 26 years of being a federal territory, continues to develop, especially in its physical form.
Various development and human capital planning is going on for continuous development to realise the federal government’s efforts to make Labuan Malaysia’s first peaceful and prosperous city.
In an exclusive interview with Bernama in conjunction with Federal Teritory Day, Labuan member of parliament, Datuk Yussof Mahal, said the city as an oil and gas centre; and an offshore financial centre; now awaits the completion of four hotels of three and four-star rating.
He said RM317 million was allocated for Labuan under the Ninth Malaysia Plan to make sure Labuan was not side-lined in development to make it at par with other states.
“With the completion of the hotels, there will be employment opportunties for local residents besides increasing choice of accomodation,” he said.
Yussof said the Labuan Times Square shopping centre, which can be one of Labuan’s economy growth catalysts, will be ready this year.
In human capital development, there was an international-standard lawn bowls arena, a futsal court, a cultural waterfront (Anjung Budaya), Siswazah Corner and a public marina which collectively were worth almost RM100 million.
Yussof said the federal government had approved the building of Sekolah Menengah Agama and Maktab Rendah Sains Mara under the 10th Malaysia Plan.
He said another project was a RM79 million prison under construction and scheduled to be ready at the end of the year.
That project site would also have -for the convenience of local residents- a community hall, a mosque, a recreation centre, and shops.
Besides that, he said, there was a halal-hub project that witnessed the building of a halal food distribution centre, the Labuan Halal Distribution Hub, costing RM89 million in Kiansam and which will change Labuan’s landscape.
The centre would be a platform for a “branding exercise” for Malaysian halal products for both domestic and international markets.
The halal hub could play an important role in determing that the quality of products adhere to high stringent standards to elevate Labuan to the global stage as when the city was accorded Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) status in the early nineties.
Yussof said the hub was a continuation of the Sabah Development Corridor that will be the supplier of raw products to the Labuan Halal Distribution Hub.
With the hub in Labuan, added value can be given to local food products and hence prepare them for export to the global market, he said.
The Halal Distribution Hub project was planned considering the rich ocean resources of the island which could be produced into food products and pharmaceuticals.
The project will cover an area totalling 25 hectares. The owners of the land are Labuan Corporation which has 4.5 hectares, Malaysia Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) which holds 8.75 hectares, Customs Department which has 0.75 hectares, and private parties who own the remaining land.
Among the important components in the development of the first phase will be the prototype system for Halal identification and verification, strategic business plan, and other facilities such as processing centre, cold storage, laboratory and offices.
Yusoff said a meeting between Federal Territory and Rural Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin and leaders of the Labuan Chamber of Commerce discussed the need for a bridge to link Labuan to mainland Sabah which was very much desired by the people of Labuan.
Meanwhile, he said the tourism industry of Labuan was given a boost by the Tourism Ministry when it approved a homestay project valued at RM1.8 million at Patau-Patau two years ago.
To date, 85 people have participated the project in offering accomodation ala traditional and village lifestyles that displays the customs of the Labuan community to both domestic and foreign tourists.
By Jalani Hasan