KUCHING: The Transport Ministry is studying the possibility of opening new cross-border bus routes between Kuching and Singkawang in West Kalimantan through the Biawak – Aruk Integrated Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS).
Its Minister Datuk Seri Lee Kim Shin said this would facilitate Sarawak government’s initiative to bring more tourists to Sarawak especially for medical services in Kuching as well as for leisure.
He said it has been made known that the Indonesian Government has decided to relocate its capital city from Jakarta to Nusantara, Kalimantan, reported to commence operation in 2024.
“Thus, Sarawak must strategise and position herself in order to gain socio-economic benefits and complement the development of Nusantara.
“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 when delivering his winding up speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
Lee said his ministry has also proposed the resumption of flights from Pontianak to Kuching and vice versa which is a popular and convenient sector for those seeking medical treatment in Kuching.
He said the matter was discussed in the recently concluded BIMP-EAGA Senior Officials Meeting and Ministerial Meeting in Pontianak, Indonesia and the connectivity between Kuching and Pontianak will resume soon.
He added that the new air routes from Kuching to Samarinda and Miri to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan were also deliberated to increase business and tourism activities.
Since Sarawak shares a land boundary with Negara Brunei Darussalam and Kalimantan, Indonesia, Lee said, his ministry has to work closely with our neighbours to enhance cross-border connectivity and accessibility to facilitate transport of goods and movement of people.
“We have enhanced our efforts to facilitate and came to an agreement with West Kalimantan to resume express bus services from Kuching to Pontianak and vice versa starting from September 1, this year.
“The cross-border bus services received positive response from both the Sarawakians and Indonesians passengers. As of today, we recorded an average of 1,200 passengers per month using the bus services between Kuching to Pontianak and vice versa,” he added.
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