By Achong Tanjong
The Frequent Travellers Card (FTC) has received an encouraging response since it was jointly launched by Brunei and Malaysia early this month. To date, some 530 Malaysians and Bruneians have applied for card.
According to a news report, the Miri Immigration Department Office has received 539 applications from Malaysians and Bruneians. Of the number, 243 applications were from Malaysians in Sarawak, while Bruneians from the Sultanate had submitted 296 applications as of July 23.
The FTC system is only applicable to the Sungai Tujoh CIQ for both countries in this pilot project, the first in Asean countries to facilitate travel between both countries.
It is aimed at frequent travellers to cut down the hassle through speedy clearance at the specially allocated FTC lane at the CIQ of both countries. All Malaysians with international passport and 64 K chip in their MyKad are eligible if they make five or more trips monthly in this sector.
However, Malaysians are still required to bring along their passport when entering the Sultanate.
The Immigration Department said bringing along the passport is important during the trial period of six months. Their passport would be stamped by the Immigration Department on the first entry to Brunei and vice-versa, and a receipt stating the duration of permitted stay would be issued to FTC holders.
Speedy clearance is possible through the electronic card and thumb print reader, which verifies the passport data shared by both countries. Clearance receipt, however, must be kept during their stay either in Sarawak or Brunei.
Under the system, travellers could save on the pages for stamping which is now confined to the normal immigration clearance process, whereas the FTC card is valid for two years and is renewable.
Applicants must go to the National Registration Department to key in the passport details in the 64 K electronic chip in MyKad and their applications would be processed by the Miri Immigration Department and forwarded to Brunei Immigration Department for approval and vice-versa.
However, the FTC is applicable to only Sg. Tujoh CIQ for entry and exit. Those intending to exit at Tedungan CIQ and Kuala Lurah would have to use their passport. The pilot project would be extended to other border CIQ if proven feasible.
Thousands of Bruneians and Malaysians working in the Sultanate travel to Miri and Limbang for their shopping and recreational activities every week, especially during weekends and public holidays.
Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin