MP: Outrageous to build wall along S’wak-Kalimantan border

Dr Kelvin Yii

KUCHING, Jan 20: A Democratic Action Party (DAP) MP is against building a wall along Sarawak-Kalimantan borders and calls it a “Trump”.

Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii believed that Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing’s suggestion was “outrageous” as it will cost billions of public funds.

“Before Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing makes ‘outrageous’ suggestion that will cost billions of public funds, maybe he should better understand the real situation on the ground and address immediate needs including adding additional guard posts and integrating it with modern technology and more importantly addressing corruption even among the authorities.

“Before he does a ‘Trump’ which may cost billions to build a wall along the borders of Sarawak-Kalimantan, he should first address some of the real issues on the ground for the benefit of Sarawak in a long-term,” said Dr Yii in a statement today.

He claimed that on the Indonesian side of the border, “there are actually more guard posts compared to us along the borders”.

“We do need to erect more of such posts as well as integrating it with technology such as electronic monitoring via drone or camera etc. That will definitely require some investment but definitely not as much as building a ‘wall’,” said Dr Yii.

He believed that the government needs to activate a “whole of government approach” or “whole of agency approach” when dealing with such a complicated issue, which means that the agencies cannot continue to work in a silo, but must find better ways to collaborate and work together.

This includes agencies such as immigration, army, customs..etc which will have to coordinate their efforts and even data sharing for more comprehensive action on the border.

“What is most important is that we need to ensure that our agencies have the highest level of integrity. A lot of issues happened when integrity is compromised and corruption takes place. For example, until now there seems to be little progress in the case where an agent brought in and smuggled back four Indonesians that were tested positive for Covid-19.”

He said there are concerns that such smugglers and human traffickers from Kalimantan in Indonesia may bring in more Covid-19 cases into Sarawak.

To him, the long term solution to all these issues is to see the economy of Kalimantan grow in tandem with Sarawak to the level in which there is no more need to cross over to this side.

“That is why Sarawak must look into building deeper ties that are mutually beneficial (with Kalimantan). It is not easy but it is cheaper than building a road/wall that may cost billions. Plus it generates more goodwill between the two countries and thus generating better socio-economic cooperation between the two regions.

“That is why I urge both the Federal and Sarawak to better understand the situation on the ground and properly address each issue at the core. The can be a bi-partisan committee where both the government and opposition are invited to the border to better understand the situation at the post together and let us determine if there is a real need to ‘build a wall’ along our borders,” said Dr Yii. – DayakDaily