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Time to designate Labuan as full-fledged offshore financial centre — Experts

Publish date: Fri, 01 Dec 2023, 07:01 PM

LABUAN (Dec 1): A group of industry experts and stakeholders are calling for Labuan Island to be designated as a full-fledged offshore financial centre and for clear policies for offshore enterprises to be established, aiming to attract international investors with tax incentives.

In a meeting held at the University Malaysia Sabah Labuan International Campus (UMSKAL), more than 20 industry experts and players from various sectors, including oil and gas, logistics, shipping and tourism, came together to discuss the economic challenges facing Labuan and to look at solutions that can restore Labuan's relevance through policy review and revitalisation.

They said there is a need to reassess governance policies concerning Labuan's role as a financial centre and set clear policies to attract international investors to the city.

Presided over by Labuan Chamber of Commerce president Daniel Doughty and led by UMSKAL Associate Professor Dr Geoffrey Harvey Tanakinjal, the meeting was a proactive step to address urgent economic and sustainable growth issues affecting Labuan.

The participants also highlighted obstacles hindering tourism growth, citing a lack of cohesion among responsible departments and questioning limitations on chartered flights at Labuan Airport as connectivity concerns were deemed crucial for both investors and tourists.

Economic strategies proposed included revitalising the ‘Bagang’ operation (for anchovy farming) under UMSKAL's supervision and implementing Taman Pertanian Kekal for sustainable vegetable provision.

The creation of a cultural village was suggested to boost tourism and generate income for local operators.

Fuel subsidies and open-sky policies were deliberated to address escalating expenses and improve connectivity between Labuan and Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

The participants unanimously agreed to present their findings and proposals to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during his upcoming official visit on Dec 7.

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