Kapit needs more ‘beef and bite’ to prevent illegal activities

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

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By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Nov 17: Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing described Kapit Road as a double-edged sword.

While road connectivity was vital for development, he said, it also provides opportunity for some bad hats to get involved in illegal activities such as illegal logging in Ulu Kapit.

“While I can’t stop the construction of road as it is my ministerial task, there is an urgent need for the government to provide more ‘teeth’ to our enforcement personnel so that they will have the necessary ‘bite’ in carrying out their duties,” Masing told DayakDaily here today.

Masing, who is also the Border Security Committee chairman reiterated that besides having the ‘teeth’, the relevant enforcement agencies must also increase their personnel in vulnerable areas where illegal logging and smuggling activities are still rampant.

“This is where inter-departmental joint-operations must continue to be enforced in our forests. At the same time, we must also increase the number of our manpower along the border with Kalimantan.

“Beside preventing illegal logging activities and smuggling, we must put extra effort to guard our border from being breached by illegal immigrants especially during this Covid-19 pandemic,” he stressed.

Masing also commended on the success of Sarawak Forestry Department (SFD) and the General Operations Force (GOF) in curbing illegal activity at Sungai Sut, Kapit recently which reported some RM105,000 worth of illegal logs and machineries were hauled up.

Meanwhile, Masing revealed that more gantries will be built along the Kanowit-Kapit Road to prevent over-loading and illegal lorries from plying the new Kapit road where construction is still ongoing at Nanga Ngungun-Temallat stretch.

“We have learnt a good lesson from the Bakun Road whereby before we built gantries, the road was often ruined by overloaded and illegal lorries carrying oil palm fresh fruit bunches and logs,” he said.

The Kanowit-Kapit Road is expected to be fully completed before Christmas. — DayakDaily