Sarawak ministry hopes for closer ties with Brunei counterparts

Azlan Othman

Sarawak’s Ministry of Youth and Sports is looking forward to working closely with its counterparts in Brunei Darussalam to forge cordial relations among the young generation from both sides, Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said.

The Minister of Youth and Sports said the people in Brunei Darussalam and Sarawak “have many similarities including speaking the same Malay Language which can facilitate better understanding on many aspects of traditions and cultures”.

He made these comments during a courtesy call from outgoing Consul General of Brunei Darussalam to Sarawak Pengiran Hajah Krtini binti Pengiran Haji Tahir, who will be returning home for her new assignment, Malaysian newspapers reported.

Datuk Abdul Karim, who is also Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, said the Brunei Consulate worked closely with the state government in many areas, especially in the tourism industry, as shown by the encouraging number of tourists from the neighbouring country visiting Sarawak, particularly to Miri, which is a popular local destination.

He congratulated Pengiran Hajah Krtini on her new assignment and wished her the best in her undertakings.

Meanwhile the Brunei Government thanked Sarawak State Disaster Management Committee (JPBN) for its close cooperation with the Sultanate in handling the COVID-19.

The appreciation was delivered by Pengiran Kritini during a courtesy call on Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas at Wisma Bapa Malaysia recently, Malaysian newspapers reported.

According to Pengiran Hajah Krtini, the close cooperation between JBPN led by Uggah helped Brunei to deal with COVID-19 more effectively.

The farewell visit was made after Pengiran Hajah Krtini served four years in the state.

Sarawak has taken the initiative by tightening control at the Malaysia-Brunei border entrance since January to curb the spread of the pandemic.

It was to control the influx of Chinese tourists from Kota Kinabalu to Sarawak through the land route from Sabah.

The move indirectly helped Brunei deal with the spread of COVID-19. After the pandemic intensified, when the Movement Control Order came into force in March, the JPBN ordered the Sarawak and Brunei border operations to be cut short by two hours.

The new operating hours from 6am to 6pm are in line with the Brunei Immigration operating hours as well. Prior to that, the hours of operation were 6am to 8pm. The main border gates between Sarawak and Brunei are the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security Complex (ICQS) at Sungai Tujoh, Mengkalap, Tedungan and Pandaruan.