Indonesia, Johor to boost trade, tourism

Festive hospitality: Onn Hafiz (centre) and Sigit Suryantoro Widiyanto (third from right) attending a Hari Raya open house at the consulate in Johor Baru.

JOHOR BARU: Indonesia hopes to enhance economic, trade and tourism programmes with Malaysia, particularly Johor, with the introduction of a “special privilege scheme”, which offers discounts to residents in bordering regions.

The Indonesian Consul-General in Johor Baru Sigit Suryantoro Widiyanto said that this would involve at least 10 Indonesian districts in the Riau Islands, namely Batam, Bengkalis and Tanjung Pinang.

“This means Malaysians with 01 identity cards, which identify them as Johoreans, can enjoy some discounts on hotel stays or food in these Indonesian districts.

“Similarly, Indonesians from these 10 districts will enjoy discounts when they visit Johor,” he told The Star during a Hari Raya gathering for about 300 guests at the consulate office here yesterday.

The Johor government, according to Sigit, is open to the move and has already held several discussions about the scheme.

“We are already planning a working visit for Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi to the Riau Islands.

“We hope that this scheme will further boost trade and tourism between border states. This is the first time such a move has been mooted by Indonesia with its neighbour,” he said.

Asked about the progress of the plans to introduce a ferry route for cargo trucks to boost trade between Batam and Johor, Sigit said discussions were progressing well for creating a route for the roll-on, roll-off (RoRo) ferry services.

“We need to look into the related regulations and other technicalities of both countries.

“So far, Johor has been positive about the idea,” he added.

The points previously proposed were Batam’s Batu Ampar Port and Johor’s Tanjung Belungkor Ferry Terminal in Kota Tinggi.

The aim is to fit up to 70 trucks into a RoRo ferry each way.

On issues affecting Indonesians in Malaysia, Sigit said the consulate office in Johor Baru was looking after the welfare of more than 109,000 Indonesian workers in Johor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan and Pahang.

“We always urge our citizens to work legally and go through the proper channel when seeking jobs in Malaysia.

“Among the main problems Indonesians face are misuse of visas, especially overstaying, and working without a valid work permit or having proper documents,” he said, adding that these issues could cause the workers to work without getting proper wages, and they could easily be abused or discriminated against.

Onn Hafiz, state officials and guests who visited the open house were treated to local Indonesian delicacies and music.

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Indonesia , Riau Islands , Batam , trade , consul-general


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