The Border Crossing Post, Entikong, West Kalimantan : Say that You Are a Tourist

The Border Crossing Post (Pos Lintas Batas Negara - PLBN) Entikong. Say that you are a tourist.

Kalimantan, the world's third-largest island (
539,460 square kilometers), is truly unique. It is the only island in Indonesia that is shared by three countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei Darussalam.

The second uniqueness lies in the fact that the indigenous population in all three countries is the same, namely: the Dayak people.

Therefore, if we delve into the history of the establishment of the Entikong Border Crossing Post, one of its objectives is to facilitate interaction and communication between the residents of the two countries because they share a common origin before Dutch and British politics divided Kalimantan into three countries.

Say that you are a tourist

If you ever visit Kuching - Pontianak round trip, at the border crossing post between Malaysia and Indonesia, say to the immigration officer, "My purpose is tourism," and you will be facilitated. In addition to the courteous and selected words of the officers, they are friendly to tourists because it brings foreign exchange to their country.

The contrasting atmosphere is evident in the construction of infrastructure at the national border. The Border Crossing Post (Pos Lintas Batas Negara - PLBN) Entikong is truly magnificent. It reflects the face of Indonesia.

Indeed, our border post in Entikong is very grand. This is because the Governor of West Kalimantan, Cornelis (2008-2018), at that time, had a close relationship with Jokowi.

A manifestation of Nawacita

Before inaugurating the border post in West Kalimantan, three other border posts, besides Entikong, exist in Badau and Sambas. Considerable funds were allocated for infrastructure development. This is a manifestation of Nawacita, which aims to build Indonesia from the periphery.

However, there is still room for improvement. Once you enter the Malaysian authority's territory, the road becomes two lanes, smooth, and seamless.

I never heard the sound of horns in Kuching, unlike in Jakarta and Pontianak. There is no overtaking between vehicles. Houses and buildings are far from the road. No visible litter. Neat. Orderly. What about the others?

Houses and buildings are rarely very tall. In my heart, I wonder: Both are Borneo. Why are they so different in many ways?

Border Crossing Posts (PLBN) Entikong and Tebedu

Is it because Sarawak-Malaysia was colonized and educated by the British? While we, under the stingy Dutch East India Company, received limited technology transfer and restricted progress in education for the natives? Or is it due to other factors? Just hypotheses. Answers to such unsettling questions may be two or three at most.

The writer is at the border post between Indonesia and Malaysia, Entikong. There is a sign with the abbreviation PLBN (Pos Lintas Batas Ngara) which stands for the International Border Crossing Post.

The Sarawak region is not as vast as the province in Kalimantan. Its population is also not as large as its neighbor. I have vast pepper plantations in West Kalimantan, while in Jakarta, there are only a few trees. The attention and care differ. So, dealing with many or few people is different!

Kalimantan-Indonesia is far from the central government. So much so that it's like a child far from its parents. Or it can be likened to Indonesia having too many children, making it difficult to divide love and attention.

Sarawak is a state, different from the concept of regional autonomy in Indonesia. On one side, the head is released, while on the other, the tail is held.

It is certain that pre and post-colonial factors also play a role, or if exaggerated, "color" the two countries on the same island and of the same ethnicity.

Similar but not the same, the same but not alike. Both are indigenous Dayak people, but residents of Sarawak and West Kalimantan are not identical. Why?

The influence of British colonialism in Sarawak, Malaysia, and the Dutch East India Company in other parts of Borneo, like the Dayak people in Indonesia, has a significant impact on the social development and mindset of these two groups. Colonial history provides a clear contrast in terms of education, language, social awareness, and cultural identity.

British colony vs. colonized by the Dutch East India Company

Sarawak, Malaysia, as a former British colony, has an advantage in better access to education. Many of its residents received education in England, allowing them to have higher education levels and good English language skills. This positively impacts their ability to communicate with the international community and opens their minds to global perspectives.

On the other hand, Borneo residents colonized by the Dutch East India Company may have limited access to formal education, affecting their language skills and limiting educational opportunities. This can influence their ability to communicate with the outside world and participate in international issues.

Additionally, Sarawak residents educated in England may have a broader worldview and be more open to external influences. They may have higher social awareness and understanding of global issues. Conversely, Borneo residents less influenced by Dutch education may have limited social awareness and focus on local issues.

Colonial influences

Colonial influences also affect cultural identity. Sarawak residents may have a blend of British and their own Dayak culture, creating a more diverse identity.

On the other hand, Borneo residents may be more inclined to preserve traditions and a stronger cultural identity due to the limited influence of Dutch colonialism in terms of education and language.

These differences reflect the complexity of colonial history and have long-term impacts on social, cultural, and economic development in both regions.

However, change is constant, and many other factors also influence the development of society in Sarawak, Malaysia, and other parts of Borneo.

(Rangkaya Bada).

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