New border wall for Sarawak under new Malaysia?

Brick wall. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

Commentary

THE recent statement by Pakatan Harapan parliamentarian Dr Michael Teo that the Sarawak government should emulate Penang’s uncompromising preventive measures against the recurrence of a rabies outbreak in Sarawak is rather interesting. According to Dr Teo, Penang is rabies-free until today despite the epidemic going on around Penang’s neighbouring states. Maybe Dr Teo has forgotten that Penang is an island state, and because of that, rabies-infected dogs cannot just cross over from the mainland to the island state.

Having said that, Dr Teo still deserves a pat on his back for having said what he did. Without Dr Teo’s remarks, many Sarawakians would not have known that humane culling and vaccination are no longer enough. For Sarawak to be successful in combating rabies, Sarawak needs to be an island. Not that Sarawak is not one (an island) but maybe Sarawak will fare better in its rabies war if we do not have to deal with a porous border with Kalimantan, where infected dogs could just stroll over to our side, free and easy. Maybe, it is time for a new border wall to be built, and the sooner the better.

Malaysia now has a new government, and my dear Sarawakians, the rabies infected dog problem is just so ‘old Malaysia’. With a newly elected government and budget scheduled to be tabled this coming November, all Sarawakians can certainly look forward to new allocations to deal with our old, tired problems.

To allow Sarawak to pull the bull by its horns and deal with the rabies problems, it is time Sarawakian parliamentarians request for new funding under the new Malaysia for a new wall to be erected along Sarawak and Kalimantan’s border. Although the cost of building the new border wall will probably cost a bomb, the new wall serves many purposes besides stopping rabies infected strays from reinfecting our Sarawakians dogs, which has so far caused 12 human deaths.

At the same time, Sarawakian parliamentarians will have to request for more budget allocation for vaccination supplies, which was apparently reported as insufficient. Under the new Malaysia, most Sarawakians just do not want to listen to the old excuses of insufficient funding. New Malaysia should find new resources to allocate for the new wall and vaccinations. Old excuses should no longer be given by the new government. No matter how old the problems are, new solutions and policies should be implemented by our new guns.

Under the new Malaysia, the price of RON97 floats according to world market price while RON95 is now subsidised. While our new Malaysia is sensitive to the rakyat’s needs, some people will be up to their old tricks of making that extra money through smuggling.

Sarawak’s all-time favourite son YB Chong Chieng Jen’s appointment as Deputy Minister of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs (KPDNHEP) is indeed timely in this aspect. The old problem of Sarawak and Kalimantan’s border being too porous has been a long-standing issue. Too many subsidised Malaysian goods have ended up in Indonesia, and this old problem has been allowed to go on for far too long.

The new wall, if built along our long border, will help to ensure that it will be more difficult for smugglers to transport their goods from Sarawak to Kalimantan via all these ‘jalan tikus’. As the old Sarawak federal ministers were unable to secure budget for building the new wall, it is maybe time for the new batch of Sarawakian parliamentarians to show how things should be done in new Malaysia. A new budget should be sought and granted for that new border wall that Sarawak needs.

The recent announcement by our old but new Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that stateless persons in Malaysia over 60-years-old who have satisfied certain criteria be granted citizenship should certainly sound out as a new siren for Sarawakians. Under new Malaysia, permanent residents who are 60 and older, including 3,407 stateless Indians living in Malaysia, will become citizens after they have fulfilled conditions under our new government’s new relaxed citizenship requirements. The new relaxed ruling has also been extended to other races, besides Indians, now.

With our border so porous, the new ruling would certainly make a lot of Kalimantan Indonesians happy by the busloads making their way to Sarawak via our ‘jalan tikus’. Even with just a fraction of Kalimantan Indonesians crossing over into Sarawak, staying and naturalised as Malaysian citizens some years later would be a scary thought. Because by then, it is might be too late because the number of Indonesians turned new Sarawakians could easily outnumber the Dayak. The Dayak might then be a minority in the new Sarawak under new Malaysia.

And because of all these, dear Sarawakians, a new border wall is very much needed. And for that, our new Sarawakian federal ministers are encouraged to seek the new funding under new Malaysia as required. — DayakDaily