BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN – Brunei’s trade volume with Malaysia reached RM5 billion ($1.56 billion) in the first half of 2022, Brunei’s Malaysian High Commissioner said Wednesday.

Addressing a reception celebrating Malaysia’s 65th Independence Day, Dato Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah Said, “Given this positive momentum, it is not impossible for the two countries’ trade volume to reach RM10 billion ($3.1 billion) by the end of this year. “

“If so, we will be witnessing double-digit trade records between Malaysia and Brunei for the first time in history,” he said.

In 2021, Malaysia and Brunei recorded a trade value of RM8.03 billion ($2.49 billion), an increase of 70% compared to 2020.

Malaysia was also one of the top travel destinations for Bruneians before the pandemic. $1.16 billion in tourism revenue 2019.

“This will not only help restore the national economy, but it will also stimulate social activity because people from both countries, especially those with families, will be able to visit each other and travel back and forth as before. Because it happened,” said the High Commissioner.

A Malaysian expatriate celebrates Malaysia’s 65th Independence Day in Brunei. Photo: Rasidah Hj Abu Bakar/The Scoop

Resumption of cross-border travel

Brunei fully reopened its borders on August 1 after suspending non-essential travel more than two years ago due to the pandemic.

As of 28 August, data from the Malaysian Immigration Department showed that 29,778 Bruneians had crossed the border into Sarawak.

“The numbers are really not staggering. This is more than enough for control station personnel to manage operations and traffic flow,” Dato Raja Reza told The Scoop on the sidelines of the event.

“On our part, we have no problem extending the operating hours at the border. I understand.”

With a fir treeTwo weeks after reopening, 14,000 Bruneians entered Malaysia, creating long lines. At the Sg Tujuh Control Post in Belait.

“Due to these exceptional circumstances, I believe the Brunei side should consider the possibility of gradually extending the opening hours of the border,” the envoy added.

“I have not pursued this issue with the Brunei side yet. I would like to investigate the pattern during the first month of border reopening. [of travellers]”

Dato Raja Reza he said he was going to open up the matter It may also remove the $3 entry-exit fee imposed by Brunei authorities last year.

The new tax means that the return trip across the border will cost each traveler $6.

“In some cases, [daily] Commuters from Sarawak working in Brunei need to pay twice ($12). And for them, this is a huge burden,” the High Commissioner said.

“They demanded that I waive these charges or appeal to the Brunei side to issue some kind of discount, if not a complete exemption, especially for those who have finished work late. .”

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