When debating the Free Zones Act 1990 in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday (3 August), Kinabatangan MP Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin slammed the government for the lack of proper planning when enacting a free trade zone.
In the outburst, he pointed out how free trade zones in the country are only selling chocolates and candies.
He then cited the Federal Territory of Labuan as an example, saying that it has now become a ‘dead town’ as visitors do not find anything worth buying on the island.
Ahli Parlimen Kinabatangan, Datuk Seri Bung Moktar Radin meminta kerajaan memaklumkan langkah-langkah agar Labuan menjadi zon bebas cukai seperti dahulu dan bukan hanya sekadar bandar mati.#SisiTVParlimen#DewanRakyat#AWANInews pic.twitter.com/6k6n1x06Z8— 🇲🇾Astro AWANI🇲🇾 (@501Awani) August 3, 2022
“The location is labelled as a tax-free trade zone but when people visit, there is nothing there,” he said.
“Take Labuan as an example. Once upon a time, people from mainland Sabah would visit this free trade zone because there were a lot of things they could buy.”
“Today, the only thing that is tax-free is just chocolates. There is nothing else there, like a barren wasteland as if it was attacked by garudas (gryphons).”
Bung Moktar then questioned the Finance Ministry if there are steps in place to properly establish a free trade zone like those in Dubai, the UK and the US.
“There are a lot of things that can be purchased at a lower cost,” he added.
He also asked what the government plans to do in free trade zones, including Labuan, instead of just offering tax-free “candy and chocolates.”
“Sometimes I think certain things that we do are a waste of time. We have to do it properly, not go all over the place.”
“I don’t see how this would impact the overall economy,” he added.
What do you think about this? Share your thoughts!