Authorities with patrol vehicles to station at border hot spot areas

Masing (centre) listening attentively as Deputy Commissioner of Police Sarawak Dato Fisol Salleh (second left) raises certain issues at the meeting.

KUCHING, Jan 27: Sarawak government is giving top priority to enhance relevant authorities with patrol vehicles and necessary equipment so that they can carry out enforcement and strengthen security at the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing has reaffirmed that efforts to reinforce security measures must be intensified especially at hot spots areas like Bau, Lundu, Telok Melano, Biawak, Serikin, Serian and Lubok Antu.

“This is to prevent and curb not only the entry of illegal immigrants or PATI, but also human trafficking, smuggling as well as the spread of Covid-19 infections at the hot spots areas along the border,” he said in a statement after chairing the Sarawak Border Security Committee (SBSC) meeting via Zoom today.

Masing, who is SBSC chairman, emphasised that these areas were identified as hot spots as the border posts were in close proximity to villages on both sides, thus making it more accessible to undocumented migrants to sneak into Sarawak.

“They only need to go on foot for a few hundred metres to cross the border and come to our side.

“This is dangerous as they may also bring in contrabands and worse, spread the (Covid-19) virus,” he said in expressing concern in view that there were still many illegal immigrants within Sarawak’s border especially in plantation areas.

Therefore, Masing pointed out the Sarawak government is giving top priority to support relevant authorities by providing them with necessary equipment so that the enforcement teams can function at their best to safeguard the border especially the hot spot areas.

“Patrol vehicles like scramblers, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and four-wheel drive (4WD) will be made available for this purpose,” he explained of the continuous measures at borders to weed out illegal immigrants.

In more remote border posts like Tapak Megah, Rantau Pandora and Ba’Kelalan, Masing who is also Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development stressed that the more pressing issue was to make sure basic telecommunication equipment was available.

“I have already recommended the installation of solar-powered ConnectMe in these areas which are not reachable via telco towers,” he added.

Meanwhile, the SBSC meets weekly to update and discuss issues regarding border security in the State.

At the meeting today, Masing was given a comprehensive briefing by the relevant enforcement agencies including General Operations Force (GOF), the police, the Armed Force (ATM), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Royal Malaysian Customs Department Sarawak and Immigration Department Sarawak on issues pertaining to entries into Sarawak via land border.

Also, present the meeting were Residents from various divisions and other relevant agencies.-DayakDaily