LABUAN: The Federal Government will focus on resolving basic infrastructure issues involving the people instead of implementing major development projects which can be deferred, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
He said the proposed construction of a RM6bil bridge to link Labuan with mainland Sabah was not a priority for the government.
"The Labuan bridge is an old proposal. We need to see our capability and the human traffic volume, and it does not make economic sense to build the bridge.
"In Labuan's development plans, we take measures to quickly settle key issues affecting the people, like water supply.
"I can't accept it if basic problems are still not resolved while driving rapid economic growth and attracting hundreds of billions of ringgit in investment," he said at a meet-and-greet session with the people at Dewan Konvensyen Ujana Kewangan Labuan on Thursday (Dec 7).
Anwar said RM300mil had been allocated under the Malaysia Madani Budget 2024 for overcoming the water supply problem in Labuan.
He said the Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC), Bank Negara, Securities Commission and Bursa Malaysia would be involved in efforts to drive Labuan's economic development.
"The latest by end-January next year, Bank Negara, Bursa Malaysia and the Securities Commission will hold a conference to find ways to restore the role of Labuan as the region's leading business and financial centre.
"This is our latest proposal. We want new initiatives in Labuan to attract more industry players to operate in Labuan.
"This is why we want basic infrastructure problems in Labuan to be settled urgently," he said.
Anwar stressed that it is more realistic to focus on resolving basic infrastructure problems instead of thinking about multi-billion ringgit development projects.
"When I was appointed the Prime Minister, I inherited national debts of RM1.5 trillion and a deficit, which means the country lacks financial strength, with revenues far below liabilities," he added.
Anwar said although the country was facing challenging economic conditions, the government would continue with efforts to improve the people's well-being.
He said all government leaders should be involved in combating the practice of stealing from government coffers and the people should help the government keep the administration free from such irregularities.
"Syukur Alhamdulillah, after one year of the Madani government, not even a single leader of the administration is involved in corruption scandals.
"Our friends in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (GRS), Pakatan Harapan, UMNO-Barisan Nasional know my stand.
"If there is a case involving any leaders, I as the head of government will immediately remove them from their leadership role," he said.
He said certain quarters felt uneasy with his stand on governance and corruption issues.
"Do not take this matter lightly. As long as governance and corruption issues are not resolved, the country's finances will not be stable," he added. - Bernama