1,200 passengers using Kuching-Pontianak bus services per month, Transport Ministry hopes to open new cross-border routes

Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin

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By Yee Mei

KUCHING, Nov 29: There is currently a recorded average of 1,200 passengers per month using the bus services between Kuching to Pontianak and vice versa, says Sarawak Transport Minister Dato Sri Lee Kim Shin.

In his ministerial winding-up speech in the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today, he said his ministry has enhanced its efforts to facilitate and agreed with West Kalimantan to resume express bus services from Kuching to Pontianak and vice versa starting from Sept 1, 2022.

“Moving forward, my ministry is studying the possibility of opening new cross-border bus routes between Kuching and Singkawang in West Kalimantan through the Biawak–Aruk ICQS.

“This will facilitate the Sarawak government’s initiative to bring more tourists to Sarawak, especially for medical services in Kuching as well as for leisure,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lee said as the Indonesian government’s relocation of its capital from Jakarta to Nusantara is expected to commence in 2024, Sarawak must strategise and position itself to gain socio-economic benefits and complement Nusantara’s development.

“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.

Lee added that through the close collaboration that his ministry has established with its Indonesian counterparts through BIMP-EAGA (Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East Asean Growth Area) and Sosek-Malindo, and a courtesy visit from the Consulate General of the Republic of Indonesia and Malaysian-Pontianak Consulate, his ministry has proposed for the resumption of flights from Pontianak to Kuching and vice versa, particularly for those seeking medical treatment in Kuching.

“We are pleased to inform that this 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.

“The new air routes from Kuching to Samarinda and Miri to Balikpapan in East Kalimantan were also deliberated to increase business and tourism activities.” — DayakDaily