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By Brad Rantayy
MIRI, June 11: Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin supports the call for the federal government to consider constructing the proposed alternative road or bypass from Lawas and Limbang to Miri that does not pass through Brunei in addition to the Pan Borneo Highway.
The call had been made earlier by Assistant Minister of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development, Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Ismail,
In echoing this, Lee noted that having the alternative road will open up more areas for economic activities, especially for agricultural and tourism development.
“It will also provide more efficient road connectivity and land transportation not only between Limbang Division and Miri Division but also extend the direct linkage to Sabah from Miri as well,” Lee disclosed in a statement today.
He added that the present road network which passes through Brunei and through a number of border checkpoints makes travelling very time consuming and inconvenient apart from incurring higher transportation costs and imposing customs clearance requirements and restriction on certain goods and so forth.
“The bypass road can also facilitate tourists traveling by road from Sabah all the way from Lawas to Miri and vice versa. It will be much more convenient for the movement of people and transportation of goods without having to go through Brunei immigration and customs clearance,” he explained.
“Presently for our people from Lawas to travel to Miri, I understand that they have to clear immigration eight times, meaning 16 times to and from. If they go through Merapok, another additional two immigration clearance, meaning 18 times to and from from Lawas to Miri and return,” he pointed out.
Lee believed that such a road network will help to make Miri grow and enhance its status as an economic hub in the northern region of Sarawak.
There is very strong justification to expedite the implementation of the Bypass road, he stressed.
Lee also expressed appreciation to the Brunei government for its strong cooperation, support, assistance and cordial relations in enabling smooth border crossings all these years for Sarawakians and transportation from Miri to Limbang and Lawas and vice versa.
“We are also grateful to Brunei for allowing us to go through their country for important matters such as emergencies and the delivery of essential items since the implementation of MCO on March 18,” he said.
“Under the present RMCO (Recovery Movement Control Order), we fervently hope Brunei will consider (further) relaxation to allow Malaysians to go through the country to Limbang and Lawas for other purposes, such as visiting parents, children, sending their school-going children (to school) and perhaps also including certain mutually beneficial cross border economic activities where mutually agreed standard operating procedures (SOPs) have to be complied with,” he added. — DayakDaily