By Jalani June
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
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
Yussof said the federal government had approved the building of Sekolah
Menengah Agama and Maktab Rendah Sains Mara under the 10th Malaysia
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
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
Yussof said the hub was a continuation of the Sabah Development
Corridor that will be the supplier of raw products to the Labuan Halal
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
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
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.