Kalimantan-Sarawak ‘jalan tikus’ worrying with spike in Indonesia Covid-19 cases

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, July 21: With the spike in Covid-19 cases in Indonesia, chairman of border security Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing is worried that infected Indonesians could sneak into Sarawak through the many ‘jalan tikus’ (illegal routes) along the 1,000 km porous border with Kalimantan.

According to the latest Covid-19 Worldometer, the coronavirus has infected some 15 million people and killed over 600,000 people worldwide.

In Indonesia, it was reported that the biggest island republic with a population of over 273 million, had more than 88,000 positive cases with some 37,000 active cases and 4,239 deaths.

“Indonesian spike in Covid-19 pandemic is a worrying factor for Sarawakians as we are sharing the national border with Kalimantan, Indonesia.

“However, I’m happy to note that Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration understands our concerns and has sent Home Affairs Minister (Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin) to have a look and made the necessary recommendations to close all the ‘jalan tikus’ of which we have plenty due to our porous 1,000km border and assist us in closely guarding our CIQs (customs, immigration and quarantine complexes) and promised to create new ones as soon as possible,” Masing said here today.

Masing pointed out that infiltration by Indonesians to Sarawak has been going on for years, but this time it was a worrying factor due to Covid-19 pandemic.

“We don’t want the Indonesians to ‘export’ their Covid-19 infection to Sarawak by their infiltration here,” he asserted.

The deputy chief minister added that to curb the spread of the deadly virus to Sarawak, the federal government has given its assurance that it will tighten security along the porous border.

“The Malaysian government will assist Sarawak in controlling our border posts. This was the assurance given to us by Home Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Hamzah Zainudin when I last met him in Kuching a few days ago,” he said.

For the long term, Masing insisted that the only way to strengthen the border is by establishing more border posts and customs, immigration and quarantine complexes (CIQs).

“CIQs will be permanent especially with the proposed new one in Ulu Baleh, which is at Tapak Megah. This will be the new CIQ,” he added.

Masing has also advocating the urgent need to build the border security road to further enhance border security.

Hamzah and his delegation made a site visit to inspect the Tebedu CIQ last Saturday and accompanied by Serian MP Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem.

Hamzah’s site visit to Tebedu CIQ was part of a scheduled visit to be made by prime minister on July 27 (Monday next week). —DayakDaily