PETALING JAYA: A senator from Sabah said he was disappointed that Labuan was left out of the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) mid-term review approved by the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Anifah Aman said that the government should have paid the federal territory “more attention” and set aside a bigger allocation for it.
The former federal minister said that the people in Labuan were putting up with the lack of essential basic amenities, like water and power supply.
“And if such issues are not tackled properly, it would be difficult to attract entrepreneurs outside Labuan to set up businesses and make Labuan the preferred choice for foreign investors,” he said when debating the mid-term review at the Dewan Negara today.
Anifah, who was appointed the Labuan Corporation chairman in June, went on to say that Labuan’s economy would flourish and there would be more job opportunities if there were foreign investments.
A thriving economy would also create economic spin-offs that would lead to better cash flows, he added.
“Without the proper infrastructure and basic amenities, it would be impossible for the people in Labuan to get out of the poverty trap, which would prevent the prime minister from achieving his goal to put an end to hardcore poverty.”
In November last year, Labuan Women’s Affairs Association president Fauziah Din described the poverty level on the island as worrying.
She said this after a programme by the Federal Territories ministry to enable 19,000 households under the B40 category to purchase chicken eggs at lower than the ceiling price.
She said the figure represented about 20% of the local population, which was not something one would expect of Labuan as the island was affluent with many high-paying jobs in the financial as well as oil and gas sectors.
Separately, Anifah also suggested that state governments should be empowered to overcome hardcore poverty in their respective states.
He suggested that poorer states should be given more than the RM1.5 billion set aside by Putrajaya to eradicate poverty.
“I am talking about fair distribution rather than equal distribution.”
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