29/05/2023 05:06 PM

By Jailani Hasan

LABUAN, May 29 (Bernama) -- The Labuan Chamber of Commerce (LCC) has endorsed the proposed Trans-Borneo railway and emphasised the critical significance of incorporating Labuan into this transformative initiative. 

Its chairman, Daniel Doughty, stressed that Labuan must not be overlooked during the planning phase and urged the Sabah Government to consider establishing rail connections from Mempakul to Beaufort, ensuring Labuan's seamless integration within the Trans-Borneo Railway network.

Doughty was commenting on Sarawak’s Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg’s recent statement concerning the proposed railway.

Abang Johari said the Federal government had agreed to look into Sarawak’s proposal for a Trans-Borneo railway linking the state to Sabah, Indonesia and possibly Brunei.

He said the proposed transnational railway would boost the region’s economy, especially in the logistics sector, adding that Transport Ministry officials had met state government representatives to discuss the proposal. 

Abang Johari said that the Transport Ministry would conduct a study on the proposed railway.

Meanwhile, Doughty believed the proposed railway project would yield substantial economic, social, and cultural benefits for the region.

“LCC fully supports the proposal, recognising its potential as a much-needed infrastructural development for the Bornean states.

“Acknowledging Labuan’s previous exclusion from the Trans-Borneo highway planning and the prime minister's reservations regarding a Labuan bridge, the LCC is resolute in its commitment to ensuring Labuan's inclusion within the proposed railway system,” he told Bernama today.

As part of this endeavour, the LCC reiterated the importance of relocating the Labuan RoRo Ferry Terminal to Tanjung Aru Labuan. 

“By establishing a RoRo ferry service between Tanjung Aru Labuan and Mempakul Sabah, with a travel duration of approximately 40 minutes, and subsequently creating a rail connection from Mempakul to Beaufort, Labuan's connectivity will be assured, and the advantages presented by the Trans-Borneo Railway will be maximised,” he said.

Doughty underscored the significance of incorporating Labuan into the railway project.

“Labuan, as a prominent financial, oil and gas, transhipment, and trade hub, cannot be marginalised once again,” he said.

The LCC had presented the rail connectivity between Mempakul and Beaufort proposal to Senator Datuk Seri Anifah Aman two months ago, highlighting the role Labuan could play in improving the economy of the nearby mainland town with better connectivity to Labuan.

He said the chamber remained steadfast in actively collaborating with relevant stakeholders, including the government and local communities, to ensure that Labuan's voice is heard, and its interests are represented throughout the planning and implementation stages of the Trans-Borneo railway project.

“Labuan’s inclusion in the Trans- Borneo railway is not merely a matter of necessity, but one of equity and fairness. Labuan’s potential as a pivotal economic and trade centre must be fully realised through robust rail and sea connectivity.

“The LCC will continue to advocate for Labuan’s interests, working hand in hand with all involved parties to transform this vision into a tangible reality,” he added.


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