Build Labuan-Sabah bridge, says Kadazandusun Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI)

A Sabah flag on the expressboat to Balambangan Island fluttering in the wind as soon as it's departure. IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star. October 18, 2019.

KOTA KINABALU: A bridge should be built to connect Sabah and Labuan, says the federal territory's Kadazandusun Chambers of Commerce and Industry (KCCI).

KCCI chairman Paul Ipoh Leokin said that it is repeating its call as the bridge is long-awaited and added that some quarters fail to see its importance.

“They took a photograph of a quiet street in Labuan town and got some quotes from a few people to say that there was a mass exodus from the island during the Hari Raya Aidilfitri season.

This was used to prove that the proposed Labuan-Menumbok bridge is not needed,” he said, reacting to a recent report by a local Sabah daily on the issue.

Leokin added that this is a seasonal occurrence, adding that there is a need to look at the situation from a larger perspective to understand why the bridge would benefit Labuan in a big way.

“What was reported (in the news) doesn’t reflect the actual situation in Labuan during the recent Raya holiday. Go to the outskirts and you will see big gatherings of families.

This includes relatives and friends who returned to or are visiting the island from mainland Sabah for the festivities," he said.

Leokin then said that stating the number of additional ferry trips is not an objective measurement to justify a perceived exodus without taking into account the outflow and inflow of people.

He added that there is traffic between Labuan and Sabah everyday, which is only connected by ferry or three to four flights daily via Kota Kinabalu.

“So a bridge connecting the island and mainland Sabah would be a great addition for travelers, as they can travel anytime at their convenience,” said Leokin.

He added that often people are left stranded on the island when the ferry services are unable to meet the high demand.

“The bridge is also vital for emergency cases which require patients to be transferred to Kota Kinabalu for urgent medical attention as Labuan does not have specialist medical centres.

“Moreover, the present air services between the two locations only use ATR aircraft which cannot accommodate stretchers,” said Leokin.

Leokin added that it is also the social obligation of the government for the people from two sides of the channel who will mutually benefit from the proposed bridge.

“As such, KCCI appreciates the initiative by the minister in charge of the Federal Territories Zaliha Mustafa in setting up a task force to look into the construction of the proposed bridge, and we believe that the minister is not acting alone or on her own in this matter,” he said.

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Labuan , Sabah , Bridge , Connection , Ferries , Flights , KCCI


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