KOTA KINABALU: Lahad Datu Chinese Chamber of Commerce president, Tan Cheng Teng, yesterday lauded the State Government’s decision to resume barter trade on January 1 next year.
He said the resumption of barter trade would spur the local economy which has been severely affected by the intrusion at Kampung Tanduo in 2013.
“Since the incident, investors’ confidence and the property market in Lahad Datu had plummeted. So, resuming the barter trade is good news, provided the government continues to strengthen security in the east coast,” he said when contacted yesterday.
Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Panglima Shafie Apdal, said, barter trade is expected to resume on January 1 next year after a two-year suspension, after attending the State Security Council meeting on Tuesday.
Shafie said, the council had decided to prepare new standard operating procedures and that the barter trade activities would take place at ports and jetties that have been identified as centres for the trade activities.
Tan also hoped that the government would promote the district’s investment potentials.
“Lahad Datu has the largest oil palm plantations in Malaysia. We also have the Palm Oil Industrial Cluster (POIC) and deepwater port here,” he said.
Despite the fact that Kampung Tanduo is located 120 kilometres away from Lahad Datu township, he lamented that outsiders still perceived the district as unsafe.
“The government ought to organize more activities in Lahad Datu to show that the district was a pleasant place to be in order to attract investors,” he said.
Tan also urged the government to address the pricey domestic airfare from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu, which could cost up to RM450 for a return trip, and the need to upgrade the existing airport to cater for larger aircrafts. He said the expensive flight tickets to Lahad Datu could deter investors from the district.