Free tests for Sarawakians crossing Brunei border

Azlan Othman

The Sarawak state government has agreed to bear the cost for the COVID-19 swab test on every Sarawakian travelling past Brunei Darussalam’s land borders with immediate effect, said Assistant Minister of Agriculture Native Land and Regional Development Datuk Abdul Rahman Ismail.

The Bukit Kota assemblyman said that the authorisation for this was announced during the Sarawak Cabinet meeting in Kuching recently. “I thank Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Abang Openg for granting the requests by Sarawakians, particularly those living in Limbang and Lawas, for the cost of the COVID-19 test to be fully borne by the state government,” he told reporters during a visit to the retaining wall project sites at Kampong Pemukat and Kampong Bukit Kota, where he was accompanied by Deputy Limbang Resident Sebi Abang.

According to Abdul Rahman, Sarawakians who regularly travel past Brunei’s land borders comprise civil servants, a few from the private sector, and also essential goods transporters.

“I’m sure this group will be happy over the state government’s decision to cover all costs involved in the COVID-19 test. At least it would ease their economic burdens a little,” he said.

Nonetheless, Abdul Rahman reminded travellers about the requirement to inform the Limbang Division Disaster Management Committee and also the Lawas District Disaster Management Committee prior to entering Brunei via its land border posts and undergoing the swab test.

Brunei has set COVID-19 screening as a condition imposed on all foreigners, including Malaysians, who are entering the country, even for a cross-border transit.