KOTA KINABALU: Former Sabah Chief Minister, in congratulating the Labuan Corporation (LC) for securing RM200 million from the Federal Government for a new ferry terminal, wonders what’s wrong with the existing facilities. “The existing ferry terminal capacity can serve Labuan and the routes with Brunei, Miri, Kota Kinabalu and Menumbok for another 20 years.”
“There’s spare ferry terminal capacity in Labuan. Capacity is not an issue.”
He warned against Labuan becoming a “rojak” (messy) island as a result of ad hoc development projects and very little long-term planning. “I hope that the LC will not put a new ferry terminal between Kampung Kerupang and Tanjung Aru. The people of Labuan will thank them.”
Instead, added Harris, LC Chairman Rozman Isli should use the RM200 million allocation to build a new fishing village and affordable housing for the Labuan folk.
“Any new waterfront development must be located in the Patau Patau area and the existing fishing village should be relocated to Kiansam. The funds can be used to provide modern facilities for deep sea fishing and recreational activities. That would put the funds to better use.”
The former Chief Minister pointed out that there were in fact several fishing villages in Labuan but if all them could be relocated in Kiansam, something could be done to improve the livelihood of the fishing community for the island to emerge as an international city and destination.
While the LC is more focused on building a new ferry terminal, said Harris, Labuan was losing out to Sabah and Sarawak which are building oil and gas industry facilities in Kota Belud, Sipitang, Miri and Lawas while China is building similar facilities on several islands in the Spratlys. “The LC should get its act together. Labuan is too slow to react when the question of its economic survival is at stake.”
“Oil and gas too cannot continue to remain the mainstay for Labuan. Already, China has told Malaysia to stop oil and gas exploration in the South China Sea.”
Harris reiterated the need for the LC to forget about building a new ferry terminal and instead focus on longterm planning for the next 50 to 100 years.
The former Chief Minister has also been pushing for the building of a bridge linking Labuan to Menumbok on the mainland. He has said in numerous press statements that he has interested partners from China who are willing to build the bridge in return for sealand at the Labuan and Menumbuk approaches for the proposed bridge.