Sarawak urges federal government to discuss border charges

LAWAS (BORNEO POST) – Sarawak has requested Putrajaya to seek inter-governmental arrangements with Brunei Darussalam on the implementation of entry and exit charges at land border checkpoints which will financially burden the frequent travellers or travelling families, said Sarawak Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Abang Johari said he will leave it to the federal government to discuss the proposals with Brunei on government–to-government arrangements which can help to alleviate the burden of affected Sarawakians, particularly those in Miri, Limbang and Lawas.

“I leave it to Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein and Senior Minister Dato Seri Fadillah Yusof and Deputy Minister of Works Hasbi Habibolah who are engaging their counterparts,” he told reporters in Lawas yesterday.

Abang Johari said so far, the matter is still at the negotiation stage, adding that Sarawak respects the sovereign rights and decision of the Brunei Government in imposing this rule.

Asked if the Malaysian Government is considering subsidising it for affected Sarawakians, he said the decision lies with Putrajaya. Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, in July, wrote a letter to the Brunei Government requesting for the postponement of the implementation of entry and exit charges at land border checkpoints.

Following the written request, Brunei Darussalam had postponed the implementation of entry and exit charges at land border checkpoints to October 1.

The implementation of entry and exist charges was supposed to be implemented on August 1 following the announcement by the Brunei’s Ministry of Finance and Economy on July 9 that the charges would be imposed under the Exit and Entry Charges Order 2020, which gives the Controller of the Royal Customs and Excise Department the power to do so.

The implementation of these charges was to standardise payments and charges that had been imposed on the public leaving or entering Brunei.