Editor’s Note: Labuan needs to thrive economically

PHOTO: The vessels those anchoring in Labuan waters for the oil and gas industry. 

23 January 2017

Indeed our world is full of uncertainties as no one can predict very well what is going to happen in the future.

Last week, this duty-free island has once again seen more and more workers were being laid off by once a giant company here in this island that is dealing with building and repairing ships.

Another oil and gas related companies here were also had no other option other than undergoing their further retrenchment by laying off some of their employees.

The fairy tale of the oil and gas sector here has ended with an unpleasant ending, as the sector could no longer sustain the economy of this island due to the fall of global oil price.

Beginning on early year of 2015, the traffic here in this island especially at the town area was not as jammed as before, as many employees in the oil and gas industry here have been started to leave Labuan Island.

The drop of the global oil price was a nightmare for the people at nationwide especially here in this tiny island of Labuan.

The once looked upon sector in Labuan, the oil and gas industry here were now in its lowest point.

Many of the stock traders and investors in Bursa Malaysia are now shunning the oil and gas stocks.

Even, the commercial banks that was once ‘always giving big smile’ to welcome the employees in the oil and gas industry to their banks are now even almost ‘reluctant’ to smile to them.

The banks refused to approve most of their loans.

Indeed this beloved island is now suffering, as it has no back up industry as great as the oil and gas sector.

Most of the businesses here are also greatly affected by the ‘fall’ of the oil and gas industry. The hotels, restaurants and others are now having fewer customers.

This island must thrive economically and we cannot wait for the oil and gas sector to revive.

Something must be done for the sake of the people here in Labuan. Lest, this island will suffer further.

We must be optimistic with our future here in this island. There must be another sector that could help Labuan to grow again after this ‘great test’.

Indeed the test was great, as many of the laid-off employees especially the men those are the breadwinners must earn living for their families.

However, according to the local authority, the economy ship of this island had changed its sail heading towards tourism industry.

The local authority is now focusing on developing the infrastructures to focus on tourism to attract more tourists to come to here in Labuan.

Several big events have been planned earlier for this year where some of them are already established.

To think about tourism, we need to think how we can share from the success of tourism industry enjoyed by our neighbor in the mainland of Sabah.

To beat Sabah in the industry is probably impossible as their market is big.

Perhaps, we can garner the tourists from Japan, Korea, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong those coming to Sabah to Labuan provided that we offer to them something attractive enough for them to come to here.

There are some constraints that we are facing here in this island for example our viability in terms of connection.

We might not have any international direct flight coming to this island to carry the tourists or visitors. But, it is worth to fight for to get such air connection.

We hope the authority will look into this matter, as it will be a big advantage for this island’s tourism industry.

Should this happen, it will help the travel agents to create more products and services for the tourism market here in Labuan.

We believe our local authority will do their best to make Labuan as another well-established tourism destination and of course it comes with cooperation from all sides.

Editor’s Note

Labuan Times

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