LABUAN (Bernama) – The ongoing 8th BIMP-EAGA Friendship Games2014 is a platform to promote Labuan’s investment and tourism attraction among participating countries like Brunei, Indonesia and Philippines.
Minister of Domestic Trade, Cooperative and Consumerism Datuk Seri Hasan Malek said the international event was a milestone to put Labuan on the Asian map.
“Judging from the number of participants and as estimated 10,000 visitors to the island, the event has succeeded in unifying the people from EAGA member countries, despite the limited sports infrastructure and facilities.
“Importantly, we put everyone together in this humble yet lively gathering” he said when launching the games last night.
Hasan said Labuan has been very active in fostering closer relations with various industry players and has established joint task forces and committees with BIMP-EAGA member countries and counterparts in Sabah, Sarawak and Peninsular Malaysia.
Hasan said efforts were in the pipeline to explore potential business opportunities and markets for foreign investors, as such, more programmes would be held to enhance networking with Asean countries.
“While this friendship games is a modest start, I believe, we can build the bridge to enhance bilateral ties for various issues in achieving the economic objectives.
“It is hoped that this event will be continued to a greater scale and not only cover the BIMP-EAGA region but also involve the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) region and Asean countries.
“I am optimistic that this aspiration will become a reality,” he added.
The IMT-GT is a region of dynamic growth that draws from the strong economic complementarities of the three countries, their geographical proximity, as well as, their close historical, cultural and linguistic ties.
Hasan said Malaysia has established itself as the preferred venue for numerous prominent international and world class events.
“This development is supported by Malaysia’s modern infrastructure and facilities, and its tolerant policies, which has made it attractive to event managers and organisers from all over the world.
“These factors are further highlighted by visitor’s comments about Malaysia being an interesting, exciting, safe, peaceful and economical tourist destination,” he added.
The five-day friendship games, which kicked off on Saturday, drew 1,026 participants from four Asian countries converging to the duty-free island.