LABUAN, April 4 — All 27 village heads of Labuan have unanimously rejected any proposal to return the island to Sabah.

Emphasising the island’s continual development and its status as a federal territory, the village heads contend that Labuan should remain autonomous.

The village heads’ spokesman Kamal Ariffin Khalidin said Labuan’s integration into Sabah would be counterproductive, given the strides made in its development.

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He highlighted the island’s unique administrative setup, with nearly 83 government departments operating as state administrative departments, providing residents with access to essential services in education, welfare, and economic development.

Khalidin underscored the distinction between Labuan Corporation’s status as a local authority akin to a state, as opposed to a mere district municipality.

“The continuous influx of development initiatives directed towards Labuan is a testament to the island’s progress.

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“We have witnessed the Federal Government’s commitment to bolstering Labuan’s economy, and we believe allowing Labuan to operate as a federal territory aligns with the best interest of its residents,” Kamal Ariffin said at a press conference here today.

He said the Federal Government’s focus on Labuan’s economy is evident through the appointment of a minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Federal Territories) to oversee Labuan’s economic affairs. — Bernama