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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sabah-southern Philippines barter trade ban not lifted

KOTA KINABALU - A barter trade ban between Sabah and the southern Philippines has not been lifted under moves to relax certain restrictions in trade that were imposed in April last year following a spate of Abu Sayyaf-linked kidnappings in the Sulu Sea.

National Security Council  Sabah director Datuk Rodzi Md Saad said that the lifting of the sea trading bans were only for the transshipment of goods imported to Sabah and re-exported to Philippines and Indonesia.

“We have not lifted the barter trade ban. It is still in place,” he said when contacted Wednesday on the lifting of the transshipment ban by the State Security Council after a meeting on Tuesday.

He said that the transshipment of goods involved the importing of goods into the state and repacking it for re-export to the two neighbouring countries.

“Barter trade involves the exchange of goods brought in by traders, we still do not allow this,” he said.

Following the State Security Council meeting, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman said that they will allow for import and export activities in the area with effect from Feb 1.

Musa also said that the state security council have to allow ferry services between the northern Kudat town and Palawan in southern Philippines to begin from that date as well.

He said the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex in Kudat would be opened to facilitate the ferry services and that the standard operating procedures for the CIQ in Kudat have been finalised.

With the resumption of  transshipment activities from next month, Musa, however said it would be subject to the Fixed Operating Regulations governing transshipment activities in Sabah’s Eastern Sabah Security Zone (Esszone) between northern Kudat and south eastern Tawau.

He also disclosed that the import and export of sea products between Sabah and Indonesia would also be allowed to resume but all activities had be carried out designated jetties or landing points.

On the illegal immigrant problem, he said a large scale of deportation of illegal immigrants would be carried out by the Malaysian Navy to send them back to the Philippines in late February as agreed between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.

By Muguntan Vanar

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