Second Blow for Labuan
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The first bad news was that the proposed RM4 billion Labuan-Menumbok bridge project would not see the light of day due to the bleak economy. Now, a similar fate has befallen the RM7 million international motor racing circuit project.
Opposition Member of Parliament Datuk Rozman Isli said he would persuade Labuan Corporation to appeal for reinstatement of funds allocated for the racing circuit, adding that the cancellation of funds was a huge setback in the promotion of event-based tourism on the island.
Speaking in parliament last week when former Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin was debating on the budget for sports, Rozman said, "It is certainly sad news for sports enthusiasts after Labuan Corporation being allocated more than RM3 million for the first phase of the motorsports racing track is suddenly cancelled.
"The island needed the project as it blended with the rebranding of Labuan tourism in extreme sports.
The project would create jobs and business opportunities.
He added compared to the millions of ringgit spent on Formula One Racing, the Labuan project is small.
"Not long ago an additional budget approval of RM25 million was made for the Sepang track for maintenance and other works.
It was a one-off allocation and Sepang circuit did not generate much tourism returns.
Rozman hoped this project along with others such as a swimming pool under the Labuan Youth and Sports Department would be continued.
The groundbreaking for the first phase of the Labuan circuit was done in February by former FT Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor. The RM7 million project is to be built on a 12-acre site at Kiamsam in two phases and scheduled to be completed next year.
The RM3 million was allocated through the Implementation Coordination Unit (under the PM's Department) and the remaining amount was to be disbursed next year.
The 1km track would feature race control tower, multi-purpose hall, a cafe, treatment room, paddock podium, administrative building, retail premises and spectator stand.
The project was also to provide a better future for youths via a safer racing environment.
The circuit could host a number of motorsports such as superbikes, gocarts, drifters, a mini GP, pocket bikes and others.