Indonesia explores economic opportunities with Labuan as it relocates capital


16 Nov 2019, 5:51 am

Updated a year ago


Indonesia has identified various economic and investment areas in which it can cooperate with Labuan in line with the plan to shift its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan.

Hot on the heels of Indonesian Defence Minister Prabowo Subianto's two-day visit to Malaysia to forge new areas of defence cooperation, today its economic consul Rima Diah Pramudyawati (photo, middle) paid a courtesy call on Labuan Member of Parliament Rozman Isli to exchange views and experiences on how to boost economic and investment activities between Indonesia and the federal territory.

They pledged further efforts to improve bilateral relations and stressed on enhancing cooperation to overcome challenges such as climate change and improving connectivity to facilitate future economic ties.

The consul’s visit to Labuan followed Sabah Chief Minister Mohd Shafie Apdal’s working trip to East and North Kalimantan, Indonesia, last month with a view towards preparing for economic opportunities amid the development of the republic's new capital city on Borneo island.

“Rozman and I discussed trade-related issues and connectivity which is pertinent to easing the traffic flow for business matching and future investments into Labuan and vice-versa once the Indonesian capital moves to Kalimantan,” Rima Diah told Bernama after the courtesy visit at Tiara Labuan Hotel.

She said they were looking at potential business ventures in the fisheries (tuna and marine life industries), education (exchange of education experts) and tourism sectors (industry players’ familiarisation trip to Labuan).

“As the economic consul based at the Consulate General of Indonesia in Kota Kinabalu, I can help to facilitate any possible business matching especially between the Kalimantan industry players and their Labuan counterparts,” she said.

According to Rima Diah, East and North Kalimantan are in need of future development in tandem with the plan to relocate the Indonesian capital and investors from Labuan are encouraged to foster closer business ties with their counterparts in Kalimantan.

Meanwhile, Rozman said Indonesia's move to relocate its capital to Kalimantan would be a boon for Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan in terms of cross-border trade and investment.

“Kalimantan will certainly be a new economic growth area on the world’s third-largest island of Borneo. It will help enhance the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA). Therefore, Labuan, Sabah and Sarawak would benefit economically through possible business explorations,” he said.

Rozman said he and the economic consul shared broader common interests and broader prospects for the economic development taking place in Labuan and Kalimantan. “Pertinently, we talked about the need to have accessibility for the export and import deals between Labuan and Kalimantan,” he said.

He said the relations between Labuan and Indonesia were age-old and deep-rooted and had always been friendly and cordial.

“Malaysia and Indonesia have a long tradition of exchanging high-level visits on a regular basis which have contributed to strengthening and consolidating bilateral ties.

“Both countries have been utilising bilateral, regional and multilateral forums to hold meetings between the leaders in order to maintain regular contacts and share views on issues of mutual interest,” Rozman said.

The good relations between the two countries would pave the way for mutual understanding in the economic issues affecting both Labuan and Kalimantan, he said.

Rozman expressed hope that the Malaysian Investment Development Authority would provide attractive investment incentives to foreign investors, including those from Indonesia, to invest in Labuan.

- Bernama

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