Labuan longs for a bridge

Transport mode: Currently, travellers can only use roro ferry and speed boat to get to the Sabah mainland, or by plane. — Bernama

KOTA KINABALU: The Labuan Kadazandusun Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) reiterated its call for the construction of a long-awaited bridge that connects Sabah and the island.

Stressing that some quarters fail to see its importance, Labuan KCCI chairman Paul Ipoh Leokin said there were moves to reject the bridge project altogether.

“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 Raya festivities, which (supposedly) proves that the proposed Labuan-Menumbok bridge is not needed,” he said, reacting to a recent report on a local Sabah daily pertaining to the issue.

Leokin said the incident was a seasonal occurrence, adding that there was a need to look from a broader perspective into why the bridge would benefit Labuan economically and in other ways.

“What was reported is not a reflection of the actual situation in Labuan during the recent Raya holidays.

“Go to the outskirts and you will see big gatherings of families, including relatives and friends who return to or visit the island from Sabah for the festivities.

“Merely stating the number of additional ferry trips without taking into account the (actual) outflow and inflow of people is not an objective measurement to justify a perceived exodus,” he said.

Leokin added that there is traffic between Labuan and Sabah every day, only directly connected by ferry, or three to four flights daily via Kota Kinabalu.

“A bridge connecting the island and Sabah would be a great addition for travellers as they can travel anytime at their convenience,” he said.

Leokin added that people were often left stranded on the island when ferry services were unable to meet high demand of passengers.

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

“Moreover, the present air services between the two locations is operating using only ATR (regional transport airplanes) aircraft, which cannot accommodate stretchers,” he said.

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Labuan , bridge , sabah , KCCI ,


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