By Lian Cheng
KUCHING, May 21: The Sarawak government has answered the SOS call from Indonesia by sending goods to relieve Indonesian residents along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border suffering from food shortage due to Movement Control Order and its extensions.
According to Tebedu Inland Port managing director Nobel Pang, today at the checkpoint, two containers and a lorry carrying goods and food items had been sent to the border for the Indonesians.
“Two weeks ago, Sarawak government received a request from Indonesia to supply food to the Indonesians staying near Sarawak -Indonesian border.
“We managed to do it today where we assisted by coordinating the whole process and to make sure that there was a smooth border crossing of the food at the Customs and Immigration checkpoint,” Pang told DayakDaily.
He said Tebedu Inland Port also ensured there was no subsidised or smuggled food involved during the process.
According to him, the food items and goods had reached the border where the Indonesians could make their purchases and prepare for the coming festive seasons of Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak.
“We have no direct involvement in the purchasing and the selling of food. Our part was only to ease the process for the supermarkets which were the ones who deal directly with the Indonesians.”
Pang said this was a one-time emergency request and was uncertain if such an arrangement would be continued in the future.
“This is a G-to-G arrangement. We only helped to make sure the food sending process is smooth and properly done and we did it based on humanitarian ground,” Pang stated.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing had revealed on May 11 that the Indonesian government had requested the Sarawak government to supply goods to its citizens living along the border.
Masing, who is also the chairman of the state’s border security committee had met with the Indonesian Consul-General who put forth the request. Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg subsequently agreed that the Sarawak government would assist in delivering the goods.
Masing said during the exercise, Sarawak would follow strict SOP (standard operating procedures) whereby the goods would be dropped at the three CIQs (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complexes) at Tebedu, Biawak and Lubok Antu where the goods delivered would be duly paid for by the Indonesian government.—DayakDaily