LANGKAWI, Aug 19 – Langkawi will retain its duty-free status so long as the present government remains in power, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak. “I give you the commitment that we will retain the duty-free status of Langkawi … in fact, we will bring more projects to the island,” he said when speaking today at the “Leader with the People” programme and at the launch of the People’s Housing Project and Chenang fishermen’s jetty.

Najib said the successful development of Langkawi all along was not due to the efforts of one individual or Umno leader, but because of the strong support of the party members he led. “We cannot ignore the role of the party as an institution, and being personality-centric is no guarantee of the struggle for the future,” he said.

Najib said the government was considering two concepts in further developing Langkawi as a tourist destination, one of which was to make it the “Monaco of the East” for luxury tourism and the other, to promote people’s tourism. “We have laid the foundation to bring Langkawi to the next phase of development,” he said.

He also said that the housing project launched today proved the government concern for the eagerness of the people on the island to own their own homes. The RM242 million project was expected to be completed by 2019, he said, adding that it was originally not listed in the annual budget but was approved after considering the appeals of the BN representatives here.

“This is not a political project because the contractor has already started work on it,” he said of the project which involves the construction of five blocks of 11-storey apartments. On the fishermen’s jetty in Kampung Chenang, which he also opened today, Najib said the project which he approved during an earlier visit was expected to benefit about 400 fishermen on the island. 

“Langkawi fishermen received a monthly aid of RM300 and benefited from the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M).  As a leader, I listen to the voice of the people … it is the mantra of our struggle. I would consider a request from Langkawi MP Datuk Nawawi Ahmad for the hospital on the island to be expanded to cater to the increasing population and tourists. Let’s see. Perhaps we can include that in the (election) manifesto … we will implement that if we win in Langkawi,” he said. — Bernama

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