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Tebedu-Entikong border post international gateway in the making
Posted on : 13 Apr 2017
 

Tebedu-Entikong border post international gateway in the making

April 13, 2017, Thursday

Lee (seated sixth left) together with Jahar (seated seventh right) and Safri (seated fifth left) in a group photo with the Indonesian delegation prior to the meeting.

KUCHING: Sarawak and West Kalimantan have reached an understanding to upgrade the Tebedu-Entikong border post to make it into an international gateway.

Assistant Minister for Land and Air Transportation and Safety Datuk Lee Kim Shin said the agreement was reached at following a meeting with an Indonesian government delegation led by its consul-general to Kuching Jahar Gultom at his (Lee’s) office here yesterday.

“Both sides have agreed that we should upgrade the Tebedu-Entikong border post to make it into an international gateway.

“But of course, we would have to bring this proposal to the federal government first and the same applies to them as well,” he told a press conference after the meeting, a follow-up to last year’s meeting on strengthening ties between West Kalimantan and Sarawak.

Lee, who is also Assistant Minister for Tourism, said one of the objectives in upgrading the border post into an international gateway was to smooth the flow of people and goods between the two regions and strengthen the good relationship between Sarawak and West Kalimantan.

“Facilities at the border post will be upgraded and we are also looking into upgrading infrastructure such as roads. This is still in progress and right now we are waiting for the federal government to give the green light.”

He also said the state’s main concern regarding the Tebedu-Entikong border post was its historical value; being the first entry point in Sarawak from Kalimantan Indonesia.

“In 1970, we signed the Indonesia-Malaysia Border Trade Agreement and now we feel the agreement has to be reviewed because some of the terms are no longer relevant.”

He added that during the meeting, proposals were made to upgrade other two border posts, namely, Lubok Antu-Nanga Badau Customs and Immigration Quarantine Complex (CIQ) and Biawak-Arup border.

“We are going to have another follow-up meeting after this where both parties will be forming different working groups to sort out issues relating to trade, security, immigration, and so on.

“Officers from both sides will come together and look into these issues and come up with some amicable or better solutions,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jahar said the Indonesian delegation this time around comprised 53 government officials including senior officials from the central government in Jakarta.

“We feel there is a need to have more international trade between Kalimantan and Sarawak in view of the fast development we are facing these days.

“Apart from that, we would also like to sell Sarawak’s products to the international market so it’s not only trade between Sarawak and Kalimantan.”

On another matter, he said health tourism between Indonesia and Sarawak was also thriving with around 300 visitors coming daily to Kuching from West Kalimantan.

“There are four major private hospitals in Kuching, namely, Normah Medical Specialist Centre, Kuching Specialist Hospital, Timberland Medical Centre and Borneo Medical Centre, which Indonesians find very attractive.

“The Indonesians find it easier to come to Kuching compared to Singapore or Penang and I think this will encourage more cooperation in medical tourism between Sarawak and Kalimantan,” he said.

Permanent secretary to the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Transportation Safri Zainudin was also present at the press conference.