Long waits persist for Temburong commuters

National 2 minutes, 30 seconds


THE processing of travel documents at immigration posts continues to pose a problem for commuters using the Friendship Bridge at the Temburong-Sarawak border, said grassroots leaders.

Penghulu of Mukim Bokok Hj Emran Hj Sabtu said congestion problems persist since the bridge was open last December, even though it has improved compared to earlier days when commuters had to use the ferry.

“On normal days, it has helped a lot in reducing commuting time, however when it comes to celebratory events or even at the end of the month when salaries are released, the immigration posts would be packed and waiting time could last for a couple of hours,” the penghulu said.

Hj Emran was speaking to The Brunei Times on the sidelines of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam’s get-together with Temburong residents last Thursday.

One of the penghulu’s recommendations to improve the use of the bridge was to increase the number of immigration lanes.

“Especially for celebrations like (His Majesty’s birthday), they should increase the number of lanes used at the immigration posts to help ease the traffic at the post,” he said.

The village chief of Kampung Belingos and district representative at the Legislative Council Yang Berhormat Hj Sulaiman Hj Ahad echoed similar sentiments.

YB Hj Sulaiman said, “there are not many people who complain about the traffic or the waiting time during normal days, however if it’s possible, more lanes should be opened during public holidays or celebration events when there is an increase of traffic”.

The village chief of Kampung Belingos added that another way to ease traffic concerns was to make use of the Frequent Travellers Facility.

The facility was implemented in March 2012, allowing citizens of Malaysia and Brunei to travel between both countries with a single passport stamp.

“We have to make full use of the facility that has been provided to us. The facility will improve the traffic congestion at the immigration post because you can just show it to the immigration officer,” said YB Hj Sulaiman.

He reminded the public that if they wish to apply for the facility, they can head to the Immigration and National Registration Department to fill an application form.

YB Hj Sulaiman went on to commend the Friendship Bridge for helping to improve communication routes between Temburong and other districts.

“Even though there are traffic problems on certain occasions, the Friendship Bridge has helped Temburong locals. Before the bridge, transporting harvests such as sacks of rice could take multiple trips by boat, now one truck is enough to transport all,” he said.

Earlier this year, the Minister of Home Affairs Yang Berhormat Pehin Udana Khatib Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Badaruddin Pengarah Dato Paduka Hj Awg Othman had said there were nearly 3,000 applicants of the facility and nearly 800 more were waiting to be approved.

The minister had also mentioned that the second phase of the facility would be implemented this year at the Labu Immigration Post.

The Brunei Times