Posted on 22 May 2023
Source of News: The Borneo Post

KUCHING (May 22): A proposal to build a railway line to connect Sarawak and Kalimantan will require a higher level of discussions between the governments of Malaysia and Indonesia, Sarawak Transport Minister, Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said.

He said while his ministry took note of the proposal made by Stakan assemblyman, Datuk Hamzah Brahim at the current State Assembly sitting, the matter could only be decided at the federal level.

“It is just a suggestion from YB (Yang Berhormat) Stakan. This involves (discussions) between the two countries (and) we will have to submit it to the (federal) Ministry of Transport,” he told a press conference after winding up for his ministry at the State Assembly here today.

Hamzah when debating on the motion of appreciation to the Yang Dipertua Negeri Sarawak Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud’s address last Thursday, suggested that the development of the railway would boost international trade between Malaysia and Indonesia.

He said the state government must consider drafting preliminary plans on the matter as it can ease the process of exporting goods to and from Kalimantan.

When winding up the debate for his ministry earlier, Lee said Sarawak must strategise and position herself to gain socio-economic benefits and complement the development of Nusantara, which had been planned to become Indonesia’s new capital in 2024.

“One of the fundamental aspects that we need to focus on is to enhance our connectivity with Kalimantan, especially through land transport and air connectivity,” he said.

According to him, his ministry had been working closely with the Indonesia’s Consulate-General office here to establish new cross-border bus routes between Kuching and Singkawang in Kalimantan through the Biawak-Aruk Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) border point, about 105 kilometres from here.

“Currently, the decision is still pending the Ministry of Transport Malaysia’s further engagement with the Ministry of Transport Indonesia. At the same time, we are working closely with the relevant authorities to upgrade and improve facilities at the ICQS Biawak for this purpose,” he added.

The Borneo Post

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