Tarakan, North Kalimantan (ANTARA) - The use of the Malaysian ringgit by people living on the Sebatik Island border has become a challenge that needs to be addressed, Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has said.

"The use of ringgit on the Sebatik Island border is one of our challenges," he highlighted during a groundbreaking ceremony for the As'adiyah Islamic Boarding School Flats on Sebatik Island, North Kalimantan, on Thursday.

He said that the government must also strengthen the national economy at the border to prevent the community from becoming consumers of neighboring countries.

"We should be the ones selling our products to neighboring countries. This is a matter of competitiveness," he emphasized.

However, if a cheaper price is the reason the border community is buying products from neighboring countries, that is another problem that must be overcome, the Vice President said.

"This is a challenge that must be solved. We hope that our halal-certified products will attract the community to buy Indonesian products," he added.

He informed that Indonesia has been exporting large volumes of products, ranging from fishery products to seaweed. However, it needs to improve the quality of daily necessities to ensure export competitiveness.

"We cannot just complain about this problem. If the quality is better and cheaper, of course, our people at the border tend to buy products from neighboring countries. We hope that the Regional Sharia Economic and Finance Committee can encourage the procurement of halal products at the border," he said.

Meanwhile, regarding the use of the Malaysian ringgit for transactions in Sebatik, North Kalimantan Governor Zainal Arifin Paliwang said that his administration and Bank Indonesia have worked together several times to promote pride in using the Indonesian rupiah among the people of Sebatik Island.

Regarding the report on the use of the ringgit currency on Sebatik Island, Paliwang will conduct a check with the police and Bank Indonesia.

"We emphasize that all transactions must use the rupiah. This is the Indonesian state that we must respect," he said.

Based on monitoring, there are several grocery stores in Sebatik that use the Malaysian ringgit for transactions. Some also quote prices in both ringgit and rupiah.

Related news: Residents on Sebatik Island hold durian festival
Related news: Sebatik island`s fishermen need cold storage facility
Related news: Malaysian arrested over human trafficking charge in Sebatik waters

Translator: Rangga Pandu A J, Resinta S
Editor: Azis Kurmala
Copyright © ANTARA 2023