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Chamber welcomes barter trade resumption

29th June, 2018


KOTA KINABALU: Resumption of barter trade in Kudat, Sandakan, Lahad Datu and Tawau with Philippines and Indonesia will help Sabah’s economy.

Kota Kinabalu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KKCCCI) welcomed the Sabah cabinet decision to review the suspension, made two years ago due to security concerns.

“We believe that the lifting of the suspensions would help our economic growth.

“We must always ensure the stability of our regional economic growth and support our chief minister (Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal) and his cabinet to revive the barter trade,” said its president, Datuk Michael Lui Yen Sang in a statement yesterday.

He said since the national and state security councils have set the priority to safeguard the security of the people, KKCCCI sees no reasons to continue the suspension of the barter trade.

He proposed that the relevant authority identify the landing ports, the proper setup of the barter trade structures and mechanism with control and strong enforcement.

“We want more stringent enforcement to prevent smuggling activities through unchartered routes. We agreed that cooking gas and cooking oil and other subsidised items should be excluded from the barter trade.”

He reiterated that KKCCCI supports the State Government’s uncompromising stand and firm commitment to protecting the safety of people.

“We stand together with the State government’s strong will to prevent any border invasion activities to safeguard and uphold our rights.”

Barter trade has been going on since time immemorial between Sabah ports which are located close to ports in Indonesian Kalimantan and the south of Philippines. But the trade is no longer an exchange of goods, but conventional buy-and-sell transactions with cash.

There was big-volume trade with Filipino traders at Labuan when the island was a duty-free port. The status was removed some years ago and it spelt the end of the lucrative trade which saw a steady flow of trade boats (called kumpit, in Filipino) from Zamboanga via Karakit in the north of Kudat. The flow of goods and people continued between Sandakan and Lahad Datu with Zamboanga, and between Tawau and Indonesia.

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