Collaboration of two Pearls: Penang and Labuan

Penang Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abas (centre) arrives for the event. Prof Zoraini Wati Abas (2nd from right) of WOU is there to welcome him.

Penang Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abas (centre) arrives for the event. Prof Zoraini Wati Abas (2nd from right) of WOU is there to welcome him.

WOU collaborated with the Labuan Financial Services Authority (Labuan FSA) to host a talk on the business and career opportunities in the Labuan International Business and Financial Centre (Labuan IBFC) at its main campus in Penang today.

Penang Yang Di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abdul Rahman Abbas officially launched the event, with WOU lending support as the venue sponsor. The talk organised by Labuan FSA, the regulator for Labuan IBFC, was designed to assist professionals, university students and the business community in Penang in exploring the business, product and financial services opportunities in Labuan as well as career prospects in international business and finance.

Tun Abdul Rahman along with Prof Zoraini (right) and Danial Mah Abdullah (left) watch the presentation on Labuan following the launch.

Tun Abdul Rahman along with Prof Zoraini (right) and Danial Mah Abdullah (left) watch the presentation on Labuan following the launch.

In his welcoming remarks, Labuan FSA director-general Danial Mah Abdullah said that the event will pave way for the two pearls, the Pearl of the Orient (Penang) and the Pearl of Borneo (Labuan) to work together. “It is about how Penang could take advantage of and benefit from the use of Labuan, in particular the international business and financial centre.”

Danial Mah of Labuan FSA talks about the opportunities in Labuan IBFC.

Danial Mah of Labuan FSA talks about the opportunities in Labuan IBFC.

The Penang-born Mah shared that Labuan was declared as an IBFC in 1990 to complement the domestic financial activities in Kuala Lumpur, strengthen the contribution of the financial services sector in the country, and to spur economic activities in Labuan.

Labuan IBFC is currently home to 55 banks, 217 insurance companies, 61 trust companies, more than 300 leasing companies, 43 commodity trading companies and many fintech related companies that conduct digital assets and crypto-currency business. He pointed out that these institutions have allowed the IBFC “to be a leading midshore international business and financial centre for the Asia-Pacific region”.

Mah shares that Labuan IBFC is home to many companies.

Mah shares that Labuan IBFC is home to many companies.

Labuan IBFC currently employs about 6,000 people and Mah estimates this number to more than double in the next few years because of new regulatory requirements for business entities to have a minimum number of full-time employees. Labuan IBFC would therefore require talents in various fields, including banking, insurance, finance, accounting, auditing, law, tax, corporate secretarial, compliance function, and information technology.

Part of the crowd at the talk.

Part of the crowd at the talk.

Labuan FSA has also liberalised some operational requirements which now gives Labuan entities the flexibility to establish marketing office anywhere in Malaysia, instead of only in Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru. “With more Labuan financial institutions and entities setting up offices here, this will generate more business activities and more employment opportunities in Penang,” said Mah. About 170 companies from Penang have benefited from the use of Labuan for various purposes, and more than half a billion worth of loans have been channelled through Labuan to Penang companies for business expansion, he added.

Prof Zoraini welcomes the collaboration with Labuan FSA.

Prof Zoraini welcomes the collaboration with Labuan FSA.

Meanwhile WOU Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & Educational Technology) Prof Zoraini Wati Abas thanked Labuan FSA and Labuan IBFC for choosing WOU as a partner in organising the talk. “This event sits in well within the mission and the driving force behind the university’s success in producing quality graduates who will further enhance the nation’s ability to move forward in the international arena.”

(Seated front, from left) Mah, Tun Abdul Rahman and Prof Zoraini posing with Labuan FSA staff, the presenters at the talk and WOU’s School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam (right).

(Seated front, from left) Mah, Tun Abdul Rahman and Prof Zoraini posing with Labuan FSA staff, the presenters at the talk and WOU’s School of Business & Administration Acting Dean Prakash Arumugam (right).

The talk was attended by more than 120 people. Among the presenters were Association of Labuan Trust Companies (ALTC) Chairman Datuk Chin Chee Kee, Labuan International Insurance Association (LIIA) Chairman Raymond Wong, Association of Labuan Banks (ALB) Chairman Khairudin Abdul Rahman, and Labuan Investment Bank Group (LIBG) Chairman Dato’ Howard Choo.