Indonesian capital shift: Time to revive Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers, says Liwan

Liwan (fourth right) presenting minor rural grant cheques at his Belaga consituency.

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, Aug 29: Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) vice-president Datuk Liwan Lagang has urged the government to revive the defunct Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers in an effort to beef up security along the state borders.

He believed it was paramount to have locals in the security forces such as the Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers, who are familiar with the local terrains.

“It has been proven that they were among the best in defending Sarawak during the Confrontation but it was very unfortunate they were dismantled.

“However, after Indonesia decided to move its capital from Jakarta to East Kalimantan by 2024, we need to revive both the Border Scouts and the Sarawak Rangers to beef our defence along the border,” Liwan told DayakDaily, here, today.

“This especially considering that we have four major assets worth billions of ringgit located near the border, namely the Bakun hydroelectric power (HEP) Dam, Murum HEP Dam, Baleh HEP Dam and Batang Ai HEP Dam,” he added.

Liwan, who is also Assistant Minister of Utilities (Rural Electricity), concurred with Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing’s recent suggestion that there is an urgency to build a security road for better monitoring along the border.

“I for one, agreed 101 per cent with Masing on this issue. Let there be better mobility along the border. At the same time, it would provide better connectivity for people living in the remote areas.

“When there is road, we can also provide both electricity and water. Otherwise without road, we can’t provide these basic amenities,” said Liwan.

Yesterday, DayakDaily reported Masing as saying that the federal government must build a road network along the border for defence purposes.

The deputy chief minister suggested that the proposed road, with the length of some 1,000 kilometres, be borne by the federal government. He estimated the cost to build the road at RM15 bil. The proposed border security road will stretch from Batang Ai right up to Ba’Kelalan.

Meanwhile, Liwan who is also the Belaga Assemblyman, believed there is also a need to put up fences along the border at strategic locations to prevent cross-border smuggling.

“At the same time, it would act as deterrence for people with bad intentions,” he said.

On Monday, Indonesian president Joko Widodo or fondly called Jokowi by his countrymen, had told the Indonesian Parliament that his government will move its capital form Jakarta to East Kalimantan, near the regional cities of Balikpapan and Samarinda, as its new capital.

It has been reported that the move would cost Indonesian government US$33 billion (RM139 billion) to implement. — DayakDaily