Location : Tebedu, Serian Division, Sarawak, Malaysia.
I never knew that the town of Tebedu was called the ‘Pearl Town/Bandar Mutiara’ until the installation of this new icon. Tebedu may look like a sleepy Bidayuh town on the surface but under that deceiving tranquility are silent huge waves of trading that crosses the border each day, at least until 2014.
Since then the federal government of Indonesia had banned the cross border movement of most goods. From what I heard the story was that Jakarta never received the taxes collected at Entikong. Another story was that it was in direct conflict with Jakarta suppliers. Both could be true. Note that at its prime, trade volume was more than RM700 million! Of late, Tebedu has been very quiet with Sarawakian traders on their toes waiting for the green light from Pak Jokowi. Otherwise the luster from this pearly town will only grow dimmer. Tebedu could have shone like a brilliant diamond had the Sarawak government’s dream of the biggest inland port and industrial park here turned into a reality. Although a failed anticipation, there is still light at the end of the tunnel. Jokowi’s promised highway from the newly built CIQS at Entikong to Pontianak is slowly but surely materializing. Indonesian farmers living along the border like in Sanggau, Landak and especially those poor remote villages along the Sekayam River not only benefit from cheaper goods from Sarawak in an ‘open’ policy but more importantly the ever ready buyers from Tebedu and Serian for their rubber, pepper, gaharu, langsat susu and ginger. Meanwhile if you are out there to check out this newly installed Tebedu icon do drop by the Tiociu Coffeeshop nearby for its noodles produced on the spot.