Outgoing consul-general hopes Indonesia-Sarawak ties will remain strong

​Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) chairman Datuk Amar Abdul Hamed Sepawi (left) presenting a souvenir to Jahar during the Indonesia-Sarawak Cultural Night event in Kuching on Thursday.

KUCHING, June 29: Indonesian Consul-General in Kuching Jahar Gultom, who will end his duty in Sarawak tomorrow, hoped Sarawak would continue with its efforts to enhance ties with his country in future.

He said throughout his four-year tenure here as the consul-general for the republic, the state government not only supported the consulate’s programmes and activities but also put in huge efforts to strengthen ties between the two regions in terms of tourism, trade, health, education and labour.

“Indonesia has explored opportunities for trans-border cooperation between Sarawak and West Kalimantan, including tourism, and this led to improvements in travel activities across the borders.

“There are three official border entries that are already open between Sarawak and Kalimantan: Entikong-Tebedu, Aruk-Biawak, and Nanga Badau-Lubok Antu. These border entrances have resulted in more opportunities for tourism players, especially in trans-border ecotourism, to cooperate with each other and develop tourism activities,” he said during the Indonesia-Sarawak Cultural Night event at a hotel here on Thursday.

He added that there were a lot more opportunities that could be explored between Indonesia and Sarawak to bring people from both sides closer together.

​Jahar speaking during the Indonesia-Sarawak Cultural Night on Thursday.

Jahar also praised Malaysia for increasing flight frequency between Sarawak and Kalimantan. The opening of AirAsia’s Pontianak-Miri route in 2017, Express Air’s Pontianak-Miri, Air Indonesia’s Pontianak-Kuching and MAS’ Pontianak-Miri routes this year had increased the flow of people between the two regions, he pointed out.

“These new air routes have enhanced connectivity between Sarawak and Indonesia. Hopefully, it will bring more impact to trade activities, tourist visits and many other economic activities between Sarawak and Indonesia,” said Jahar.

On a related matter, he revealed that in 2017, trade between Indonesia and Malaysia stood at RM72.63 billion, an increase of 27 per cent growth when compared to the corresponding period in 2016.

“Indonesia is Malaysia’s seventh largest trading partner globally and the third biggest in Asean, after Singapore and Thailand.”

On his tenure here, Jahar said he had received excellent cooperation from all parties concerned, including from the state government, business sector, and the community in general. — DayakDaily