Indonesian consulate facing difficulty issuing travel documents


KOTA KINABALU: The Indonesian Consulate in Sabah is facing staff constraint in processing passports for their nationals here.

Its consul general, Soepeno Sahid, expressed optimism that the existing 30 staff would be able to issue travel documents to the remaining some 100,000 Indonesians who had registered during the 5P exercise within two months from Aug 10, before the major crackdown got underway.

During the exercise from July 17 to Aug 10, Soepeno said a total of 115,046 Indonesians without documents were recorded and to date, some 12,000 passports had been issued.

Speaking to reporters when met at his Hari Raya open house at his official residence in Tanjung Aru here yesterday, he added there were working round the clock to ensure travel documents could be issued to their nationals before Oct 10.

He said apart from encouraging their nationals to come personally to the consulate office in Karamunsing here, they were also carrying out outreach programmes in the interior.

Soepeno said passports were given to their working citizens in Sabah who had been legalised by employers while the ‘Travel Document In lieu of Passport’ was issued to those who wished to return home to Nunukan, Kalimantan through Tawau.

“I have applied for extra fundings from our government in Jakarta to cover our logistics and operational costs and have sought another 80 staff to do all the administrative work of issuing the travel documents. They are expected to arrive after the Raya celebration,” he said.

On another development, he said the consulate was still waiting for the issuance of a land title to allow them to build a school for the children of their nationals working in Sabah.

“We were told by City Hall that the land title for the spot at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park is expected to be issued by the end of this year. Once that is settled, we will have a ground breaking ceremony and would immediately begin construction of the Sekolah Indonesia Kota Kinabalu (SIKK),” he said.

Soepeno added the school, which is expected to be completed by next year, would be divided into two levels, namely the primary classes or basic education and the junior high school.

“There are currently a total of 11,000 students around the state who have access to education, be it formal or informal. We have SIKK in the state capital and 13 learning centres statewide.

“Of the figure, some 8,000 children are enjoying education facilities offered by Humana, a non-governmental organisation. They normally operate at plantations in the rural areas,” he said.

Head of State Tun Juhar Mahiruddin, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman and other state cabinet ministers attended Soepeno’s open house.

Soepeno (right) welcoming Tun Juhar and Musa to his residence upon their arrival yesterday.