Prepare to embrace economic and social change once Nusantara is operational, says Maximus Ongkili

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KOTA KINABALU: Malaysia needs to prepare quickly and efficiently for the expected change in economic and social activities when Indonesia’s new capital – Nusantara – is ready to operate, says Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili.

The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Sabah and Sarawak Affairs) said that while everyone is excited about this new development, Malaysia needs to be fully prepared for this huge change.

“We are also delighted (with this decision) because obviously the economic benefits will benefit neighboring Malaysian states – Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

“However, there are issues that need to be considered, such as economic border trade, logistics and security,” he said after leading the country’s first delegation to visit the future capital of the country. Indonesia on Wednesday March 30.

“There is a need for the Federal Government to expedite the establishment of Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security Centers (CIQS) at all entry points into Malaysia,” Ongkili added.

The Malaysian delegates are currently on a week-long official visit to Indonesia, starting March 26, and are currently in Tarakan, their fourth stop after Jakarta, Samarinda and Balikpapan.

Nusantara sits on a 632,850 acre site, approximately four times the size of Jakarta, providing opportunities for investors from a wide range of industries.

“The delegation had the opportunity to visit the proposed site for the presidential palace, where President Jokowi Widodo had camped with his senior officials a few weeks earlier,” Ongkili said.

He was accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister of Sarawak Datuk Amar Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan and Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah Datuk Dr Joachim Gunsalam.

Also present were Adlan Mohd Shaffieq, the charge d’affaires of the Malaysian Embassy in Indonesia, Sarawak actor Datuk Joseph Salang Gandum, as well as senior officials from government ministries and agencies.

The presidential palace, legislative buildings and key national government departments are expected to open in the new capital, sometime before the next presidential handover in 2024.

The chosen location is an area divided between North Penajam Paser Regency and Kutai Kartanegara Regency in East Kalimantan, which lies roughly between Balikpapan and Samarinda.

Work was due to start in the new city in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the project to be suspended before resuming in 2021.

Later, the delegation visited Bayan Resources, which is engaged in surface mining of various coal mines located in East and South Kalimantan.

The company holds exclusive mining rights through five primary coal works contracts (CCOWs) and 16 mining permits (IUPs).

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