MIRI: Arrivals of foreign visitors into Miri is expected to double this weekend as the Chinese New Year shopping spree reaches its peak.
The number of foreign vehicles coming in from Brunei over the past three weeks hit a high of 33,000 and the number is expected to soar.
Miri Immigration head Roy Entusa said that in view of the expected surge in visitors and vehicles, the department would operate extra lanes at the Sungai Tujuh checkpoint.
“We are opening 12 lanes to clear the vehicles, and will try to reduce waiting time by one to two hours,” he said yesterday.
Bruneians and expatriates working in the sultanate are coming to Miri enmasse for shopping due to the high exchange rate against the ringgit. There are also mega festive sales in the shopping malls here.
The foreigners are also drawn to colourful festive city decorations. Chinatown, in the heart of the old section of Miri City, has been transformed into a sea of red lights and lanterns.
The CNY Bazaar has also started with more than a hundred stalls along the Chinatown road. This event draws thousands annually, including foreign visitors.
Bernama adds: The operation hours at the immigration guard posts along the Merapok, Sarawak, and Sindumin, Sabah, border have been extended until midnight (from 10pm) in view of the expected inflow of visitors.
“Foreign visitors who enter through these two checkpoints will have to use their international passports or travel documents,” Sarawak Immigration Department director Datuk Mohd Zulfikar Ahmad said in a statement.
Zulfikar said in the case of Malaysians, the required travel documents were their passports or restricted travel papers or mykad.
Last year, more than 700,000 visitors passed through the Merapok and Sindumin guard posts.