With civil servants moving to Nusantara next year, Consul-General calls for Kuching-Pontianak flights to resume


Raden speaks to reporters after the flag-raising ceremony. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Aug 17): Consul-General of the Republic of Indonesia in Kuching Raden Sigit Witjaksono has called for the Kuching-Pontianak flight route to be reinstated soon.

He said having direct flights between the two cities would augur well for both countries, especially with the relocation of the Indonesian capital from Jakarta to Nusantara in East Kalimantan.

He pointed out that Indonesian President Joko Widodo is expected to declare Nusantara open on Aug 17 next year.

“Starting next year, about 16,000 individuals from the civil service and ministries will start to move to Nusantara from Jakarta,” he said when witnessing the republic’s 78th Independence Day celebration here today.

“With the expected growth of Nusantara, it will create huge potential for both countries to work together,” he said.

Currently, the only direct flight from Sarawak to Indonesia is from Kuching to Jakarta.

The Kuching-Kalimatan route was suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“So far, the only way to Kalimantan from Sarawak is by land and we hope that this will soon improve to include air connectivity,” Raden said.

He said both Malaysia and Indonesia can benefit economically and socially once the Indonesian capital has completed its move from Jakarta to Nusantara.

“We have seen the participation of both countries supporting each other in events such as the Rainforest Music Festival here or the Java Jazz Festival in Indonesia,” he said.

Raden said this reflected the close cooperation between both countries, which could be further strengthened with the development of Nusantara.

Touching on the Labour Recalibration Programme (RTK) 2.0 to regularise illegal immigrants in Sarawak as legal workers, Raden said the consulate-general fully supports the programme.

“Since the launch of the programme in July this year, we have already approved the applications for more than 800 companies,” he said.

He explained that applications can be made at the consulate-general or during outreach programmes at selected plantations.

He pointed out all companies in Sarawak who employ Indonesian workers should apply for the programme as it will benefit the company, workers, and authorities.

“This is actually a win-win situation for all,” he added.

Among those present at today’s celebration were Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts deputy ministers Datuk Snowdan Lawan and Datuk Sebastian Ting, as well as Kuching South Mayor Datuk Wee Hong Seng.