KUCHING: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing admitted that he did not ask Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg and other colleagues in Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) first when calling for the reintroduction of the use of passports for Sabahans and Peninsular Malaysians to enter Sarawak.
Having said that, Masing, who is Infrastructure Development and Transportation Minister, hoped that his fellow GPS members would agree with him.
“I haven’t had the chance to seek CM’s opinion nor the opinion of my colleagues in GPS, regarding the reintroduction of the use of passports to enter Sarawak.
“However, if the use of passports or immigration autonomy was in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), we can’t deviate from it and I’m sure my colleagues would agree with me,” he reiterated.
“This is all my personal opinion. I hope they agree with me,” said Masing, who is Baleh assemblyman and Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president.
It was reported previously that the use of passports was scrapped in 1986 following the introduction of tourism-linked Feri Malaysia programme.
Since then, travellers from Sabah and Peninsular Malaysia were only required to carry along their MyKad or IC and to complete a special entry form upon entering Sarawak.
They are only allowed to stay in the state for 90 days upon entry.
Prior to Masing’s call to do so on Dec 11, Sarawak State Reform Party (Star) president Lina Soo did make a similar call on Dec 9.