Tuesday, April 13

Enforcement of rules not to restrict movement of essential items — Lee

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Datuk Lee Kim Shin

MIRI: The enforcement of rules and regulations by certain government agencies here as well as those enforced by Brunei are not intended to restrict the delivery of essential items.

According to Minister of Transport Datuk Lee Kim Shin, these rules and regulations were to ensure that the Covid-19 pandemic is well under control within each country and between countries.

“In this respect, it is important that all parties including forwarding agencies strictly comply with the rules and regulations imposed by the two countries to curb the spread of Covid-19,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The press statement was issued by the ministry following a meeting between relevant government agencies and Sarawak Forwarding Agencies Association Miri Branch which was chaired by Lee last week.

Also present at the meeting were officers from Ministry of Transport, Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB), Road Transport Department (JPJ), Police, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Miri Resident’s Office, Miri District Office, Immigration Department, Royal Malaysian Customs Department, Agriculture Department Miri as well as members of Sarawak Forwarding Agencies Association and Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Association Sarawak.

The meeting discussed ways these government agencies could help members of the Sarawak Forwarding Agencies Association especially those based here.

This was to ensure that they can continue transporting essential goods, both perishable and non-perishable, uninterrupted from Miri to Limbang and Lawas via Brunei, as well as direct from Miri to Brunei.

“This is especially so during the current Covid-19 pandemic period, as both countries – Malaysia and Negara Brunei Darussalam – are enforcing stringent rules and regulations to contain the spread of Covid-19,” Lee added.

The minister said the meeting agreed that a WhatsApp group be set up during this Covid-19 pandemic for the relevant government agencies to share information with the forwarding agencies association.

The information will include the latest rules and regulations of both countries governing the movement of people and delivery of essential goods between the two countries.

Another issue raised during the meeting was that some Brunei registered vehicles had entered Miri with valid pass before the Movement Control Order (MCO). However, they could not return to Brunei due to the imposition of MCO and their pass had expired while they are stranded here.

To resolve this issue, Lee advised the registered vehicle owners to seek assistance from the Royal Malaysian Customs office which issued the vehicle pass. However, he warned that only genuine cases with supporting documents from the Brunei authority will be entertained.

“Stern action will be taken against those who purposely misuse the vehicle pass under the pre-text of MCO. The vehicle pass issuance office in Sungai Tujuh, Tadungan, Mengkalap and Pendaruan will verify and process the renewal of vehicle pass,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lee disclosed that his ministry will also engage the Brunei Consulate General in Kuching on all these matters and will discuss and resolve any issues that may hinder the transportation of essential items by forwarding agencies from Sarawak.

“It is our view that any hindrance will adversely affect the business between Sarawak and Negara Brunei Darussalam; notwithstanding, this also applies to those vehicles registered with Brunei that are stranded in Miri during the MCO and coincidentally could not return to Brunei as their vehicles pass had expired,” he pointed out.