MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Military protection for barter trade between Sabah and the Philippines

Turtle Island mayor Faizal Salam Jamalul (right) with Worldwide Eco Group executives Kenneth Kong (left) and Johnny Kunan after signing an agreement on making Turtle Island a gateway to the southern Philippines.
KOTA KINABALU: Barter trading between Sabah and the southern Philippines is set to be a lot safer, thanks to the cooperation of the Philippine army and navy.
Faizal Salam Jamalul, the mayor of the Philippines’ Turtle Island in Tawi Tawi, told reporters here today that a new Customs Immigration and Quarantine post on the island would be completed by next month.
“This post will be manned by security personnel, including the army and the navy. They will ensure the security of traders coming in and out of our borders, even escorting these ‘kumpit’ (wooden ships) belonging to traders,” he said.
There have been concerns, especially from Sabah, that the re-opening of barter trade between Sabah and the southern Philippines could expose traders from Sabah to the risk of piracy and kidnappings.
Kidnappings could affect Sabah’s tourism industry which brings about RM8 billion a year into the economy while barter trade is valued at about RM350 million a year.
Barter traders use the slow-moving vessels called ‘kumpit’ to transport the goods, hence becoming easy targets for pirates and kidnappers.
Nevertheless, Faizal is confident the beefed-up security in his area could at least minimise the risk of kidnappings, especially because Tawi Tawi is in dire need of essentials obtained through the barter trade with Sabah.
“I will make sure the army and other security units do a 24/7 surveillance of our waters, especially the route between Turtle Island and nearby islands.
“That is the reason for the CIQ post,” he said after signing an agreement with Worldwide Eco Group of Malaysia to promote Turtle Island as the gateway to the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in the southern Philippines.
Worldwide Eco Group chief operating officer Johnny Kunan said the company would work closely with local businesses to provide enough supply for the trade with the southern Philippines.
“We can provide local products such as palm oil directly to the Philippines because we have the export permit to send our goods overseas directly.
“We are focusing now on the volume of the goods we can trade, such as rice, cooking oil and cement. Cement is in high demand because Tawi Tawi is undergoing rapid development and we need to make use of this opportunity,” he said.
Rice would be imported directly from rice-producers such as Vietnam and Thailand.
The company was also considering cooking gas exports to the Philippines but this would take time.
The smuggling of cooking gas into neighbouring countries is a lucrative business and has caused a huge problem in Sabah but little has been done to stop the illegal activity. - FMT

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