Local security forces should safeguard Sarawak borders — Soo

Lina Soo

By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, Aug 30: State Reform Party (Star) has asserted that Sarawak borders should be looked after by a security force made up of Sarawakians.

Its president Lina Soo agreed with the suggestion by Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) that Sarawak should revive the Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers to guard the state borders.

“It is an excellent suggestion. It should be Sarawakians guarding our own border. Now we have an army battalion guarding our borders but let our rangers and scouts replace them,” she said.

She pointed out that “Borneonisation” in the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) also meant “job and opportunities for Sarawakians”.

“We should revive our rangers and scouts. Give the job opportunity to our own people. They can be stationed at the border to protect Sarawak instead of using the army,” she continued.

Soo pointed out that when Malayan army personnel are stationed in Sarawak, they can vote in the Sarawak state election if they were to apply for the change of their polling station from Peninsular Malaysia to Sarawak.

“When the non-Sarawakian army personnel are stationed in Sarawak, they can vote in the constituency they are posted in if they apply to transfer their polling station from Peninsular Malaysia to here.

“This is what we don’t need. They are not Sarawakians and should not be voters in any Sarawak constituencies,” she said.

With Sarawak’s own rangers and scouts taking over the army, Sarawak would not have to face the issue of Peninsular Malaysian army personnel voting in in the state constituencies.

Soo was commenting on the statement of PRS vice-president Datuk Liwan Lagang, who 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 that it was of paramount importance to have locals in the security forces such as Border Scouts and Sarawak Rangers who are familiar with the local terrains.

These local rangers and scouts had proven to be effective in defending Sarawak during the Confrontation but it was very unfortunate that they were dismantled later, he said.

Liwan, who is also Water Supply Assistant Minister, added that following Indonesia’s decision to shift its capital to East Kalimantan in 2024, the revival of Sarawak’s local security forces would be more urgent. — DayakDaily