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By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Jan 19: Besides building walls and fences, there is an urgent need to build a road along the 1,032km border with Kalimantan to enhance border security, says Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing.
He said there are at least 70 illegal routes stretching from Telok Melano to Lawas along the border which need to be cut off.
Masing who is also the chairman of the State Border Security Committee (SBSC) added that the cost to build the border security road is estimated to cost a staggering RM24 billion.
“There are no less than 70 of such ‘jalan tikus’/’jalan gajah’. It’s a real challenge for us to seal the border with Kalimantan. It’s because of this that I have suggested, as a more permanent solution, to build fences or wall at strategic places along our 1,032km border.
“It may sound big but build it we must, if we are serious about stopping PATI (illegal immigrants) infiltrating into Sarawak territory,” said Masing in a statement today after visiting the Telok Melano border post, Biawak customs, immigration and quarantine complex (CIQ) and the Maindo joint border at Biawak today.
On the construction of the wall or fences, Masing said Sarawak would seek out Putrajaya for financial assistance.
“After all, we aren’t only protecting Sarawak’s territory but Malaysian land. That’s why Sarawak is proposing to construct a border highway 1,032km long at an estimated cost of RM24 billion,” he said.
Masing said for the immediate measure, the government will acquire assets such as scramblers, four-wheel drive vehicles and drones for the security forces to man the porous border.
Additionally, Masing who is also the Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development said, the government planned to build an additional 20 CIQs along the border to regulate border crossings.
“But before we build the new CIQs, we will have to study where are the main routes being used by people from the other side to cross over. So, we will have to study and identified their major settlements near the border. Only then we can ascertain where the CIQs could be built,” he reiterated.
He asserted that in six years’ time, the country needed tighten security along its border when Indonesia will shift its new capital to East Kalimantan.
Accompanying Masing on his visit today were Permanent Secretary Ministry of Infrastructure and Port Development Datu Safri Zainuddin, Third Brigade Commander, Brigadier General Datuk Azhar Ahmad and GOF Sarawak commander SAC Mancha Ata. — DayakDaily