MIRI – Sarawak wants the operating hours at four Sarawak-Brunei checkpoints which were extended from 6am to midnight daily, since Sept 1, 2015 to be maintained.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg said shorter operating hours would adversely impact Sarawak, especially the tourism industry, as plans were underway to transform Miri City to become the main gateway for foreign and domestic tourists arriving from northern Sarawak.
“We want the operating hours maintained and I have written to Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to gazette the Sungai Tujuh Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) Complex in Miri,” he told reporters after the closing of state-level ‘Kembara Hijrah’ programme, in conjunction with Maal Hijrah celebration here today.
Abang Johari, who is state tourism, culture and arts minister said once the home ministry gave the nod to gazette Sungai Tujuh CIQ, it would be able to issue Visa On Arrival (VOA) facilities for foreign tourists.
On Aug 30, this year, the Brunei Times reported that Malaysia’s Home Ministry might shorten the operation hours at the checkpoints, including Sarawak-Brunei checkpoints, to curb drug trafficking and firearm smuggling.
It reported the matter was being studied and discussed with Malaysia’s Home Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.
Before Sept 1, 2015, the operating hours for the four Sarawak-Brunei checkpoints namely, Sg Tujuh CIQ (Miri), Tedungan (Limbang) Pandaruan (Limbang) and Mengkalap (Lawas) were from 6am to 10pm.
Sungai Tujuh CIQ registered the highest number of visitors among the four checkpoints, with an average three million visitors crossing the checkpoint annually.