KOTA KINABALU, Jan 24 — Sabah Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal has urged the Putrajaya to revive plans for a Customs, Immigration, Quarantine and Security (CIQS) complex project in Serudong, at the Malaysian border to Kalimantan in Tawau.
Shafie, who is Parti Warisan president, said the CIQS complex had been identified as a vital infrastructure project under the previous Pakatan Harapan government but was later suspended.
“Tawau is strategically close to north Kalimantan and that the complex in Serudong had been earmarked for development under PH.
“So, we should review the suspension of the project to allow closer relations between Kalimantan and Sabah,” he said during a Chinese New Year event hosted by Warisan vice-president Datuk Junz Wong here earlier today.
Shafie was asked to comment on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s recent announcement of an additional RM1 billion allocation for the upgrade of infrastructure at CIQS complexes at the Sarawak and Sabah borders.
Anwar, who is also the finance minister, said the approval was given following his recent discussion with Indonesian President Joko Widodo regarding the relocation of Indonesia’s capital to Nusantara, Kalimantan.
Shafie said that he had visited Kalimantan during the Warisan administration from 2018 to 2020 to find ways to strengthen the ties between Sabah and Indonesia.
He said he hoped the Anwar government would see the need for a CIQS facility in Serudong to ensure the relations between Sabah and Kalimantan could be enhanced from a political and bilateral aspect.
“In fact, if you look at the plantation sector in our country, we need labour from Indonesia, so we must look at this seriously, and not just to the extent of building the CIQS complex,” he said.
Sabah leaders had previously expressed unhappiness following an announcement by then Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof in Parliament in March last year that the CIQS project in Kalabakan would be delayed as the Finance Ministry did not provide funds for it.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor had also stated need for the complex to be built soon or to reinforce security for Sabah.
At the time, Hajiji said he would raise the matter with the federal government as the RM600 million CIQS project at the district bordering Kalimantan.