LABUAN (BERNAMA) – The construction of a bridge linking Labuan and mainland Sabah will not only enhance connectivity and trading, but also provide cost-savings for travellers.
Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) Labuan Chairman Paul Ipoh Leokin said the proposed bridge would also spur economic growth, thus creating employment opportunities.
Concurring with the Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) Labuan division head and the party’s vice president Datuk Peter Mak, he said the bridge would complement other existing modes of transportation between the two areas, especially air transport which is beyond the reach of many, particularly the lower income group.
“Furthermore, it will enhance and support the setting up of potential industries which will ultimately benefit the people of Labuan, especially through the creation of jobs,” he said in a statement yesterday.
According to him, another point to consider is the wider market available to Labuan once the Pan Borneo Highway is completed.
“The island will be able to tap into a wider market beyond and vice-versa… We believe that the bridge will be a game changer not only for Labuan but (also) its surrounding region. As such, efforts must continue to realise its implementation,” he said.
In a statement on Saturday, Mak said Labuan needs a bridge linking it to mainland Sabah in order for the offshore financial island to grow and realise its true potential.
He said among the important requirements of sound industrial growth are adequate and stable supply of utilities like power and water and the availability of good infrastructure, which includes the proposed bridge.
“The proposed Labuan-Menumbok bridge and the island’s development cannot be viewed in isolation.
“The proposed bridge should be treated as an integral component of Labuan’s development as it will open the island to a wider market catchment of mainland Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei and even Kalimantan (when Indonesia relocates its capital to Nusantara) by virtue of the bridge’s connection to the Pan Borneo Highway,” he said.
Coupled with Labuan’s offshore financial services infrastructure, Mak added, this would attract and encourage investments to set up industries on the island.
“Furthermore, the proposed bridge, other than economic considerations, should also be viewed as a social obligation to the people of Labuan and Sabah by easing travel for the people between the two areas,” he said.