LABUAN: Big events like Borneo Arts Festival (BAF) can be organised successfully in Labuan with a big allocation, said Labuan Member of Parliament, Datuk Rozman Isli.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of BAF 2015 yesterday at Dataran Labuan, he said that if the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur could have a big allocation to organize an event, why not Labuan enjoyed the same portion of allocation.
“An allocation around RM1 million to RM2 million is sufficient to turn a normal event into a big one as our future investment for the people to come here to participate in the event.
“In Labuan Corporation Act, Labuan will be developed as a tourism centre, an international island and a garden island with international standard. Labuan is dubbed as a Pearl of Borneo and is a stretgic place for events like BAF.
“A tiny island like Labuan can be developed like a garden to make it an attractive island to compete with other islands such as Bali and others. We have already become a federal territory for 31 years, but the previous blueprint to develop the tourism industry here in this island is yet to bloom despite many efforts done by the government,” he said.
Rozman said further that Labuan might not have its icon as a real attraction for tourists, like Sabah for its Mount Kinabalu, Sipadan Island (undersea park) and others.
“If we talk in terms of culture (to be an icon), in other places, they have greater cultural show. Therefore, we need proper strategy and concerted effort that can make Labuan reach its peak.
“We need strong formula, drastic action and of course a big budget. Actually, Labuan itself is an icon in terms of shipwreck, historical values and others. We must prepare this island for the visitors to have many options to come to Labuan.
“One thing that we need to develop is the arts (and culture) as they are infinite. We can be an international hub for the arts and culture due to our strategic location. If possible, we could become a centre for arts and culture in Asean,” he said, adding that Labuan also had potential to become a centre for arts and culture for the whole of Asia.
He explained that the neighbouring state of Sabah would not showcase the dances from Sarawak to the visitors. Likewise, Sarawak would not showcase the dances from Sabah. Therefore, Labuan could be a platform to showcase all the cultures and arts around Borneo.
Besides all the arts and cultures in Borneo, Rozman said that another potential that Labuan could have here was by organizing the event of Islamic Musical Event.
Meanwhile, he hoped that besides the funding from government, there would be more private companies taking part in the event as sponsors where the government had facilitated for them to conduct businesses here to make profits to create a healthy ecosystem in society.
Also present were the secretary-general of Federal Territory Ministry Datuk Seri Adnan Mohd Ikshan, Senator Datuk Yunus Kurus and the chief executive officer of Labuan Corporation Datuk Mohd Nadzri Osman.