KOTA KINABALU: All ship crew members involved in barter trade and transhipment from the Philippines and Indonesia must be tested for Covid-19 before entering Sabah waters, says Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun.
The minister in charge of Covid-19 matters in Sabah said with the reopening of the barter trade which starts on March 5, there is a need to make sure that those who enter the state do not carry the virus here.
He said apart from testing negative for the virus, barter traders from the two countries are not allowed to disembark when unloading cargo and items here.
“Local employees from local companies in Sabah must be the ones to unload and accept the items, ” Masidi said during his daily Covid-19 briefing here.
He said barter traders from the mentioned countries must also only use designated routes when coming to Sabah for the purpose.
He explained that the state government is allowing the barter trade to open up with the use of kumpits or non-convention ships due to problems faced by barter traders from the Philippines.
He said when the use of non-conventional ships were stopped for barter trade starting Oct 2020, but the traders faced problems as the ports in Southern Philippines did not have the facilities for convention ships.
“Therefore, after meetings with the relevant departments and agencies, we have decided to allow kumpits to operate now, ” he said.
The key trading points would be in northern Kudat, Sandakan, Tawau and Lahad Datu.