Ops Jala and Benteng to weed out illegal immigrants, illicit activities

Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas

By Karen Bong

KUCHING, Jan 19: Sarawak will initiate Operation Jala in a couple of days to put a stop to economic activities which may involve illegal immigrants.

State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas emphasised the need to flush out illegal immigrants as they may carry a high risk of spreading Covid-19 infections in the state.

“I have mentioned earlier that 122 illegal immigrants had been caught between Jan 10 to 18 in Sarawak and they posed a high-risk source (of Covid-19) infections.

“We found that a lot of them who had been (sent) for testing were positive and they could be a possible source of infections in the state,” he told a press conference to give Covid-19 updates here today.


Uggah, who is also the Deputy Chief Minister, thus urged employers to hand over illegal immigrants hired without proper documentation or who have overstayed to the Immigration Department.

He also emphasised that the RM81 million state funding approved by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg for SDMC to manage Covid-19 in Sarawak will also cover the cost to maintain border security.

Earlier on, he revealed the Immigration Department had carried out enforcement and inspection on 43 premises throughout Sarawak.

“A total of 41 illegal immigrants were caught at food outlets, fishing activity (7), landscaping (4), private residence (43), public places (7), shops (3) and shared houses (17).

“Among the offences committed including 27 overstaying their permit or visa (validity period) and 95 without proper documents,” he said.

The operation, he added, will continue to be carried out to stop and prevent illegal immigrants from coming into Sarawak and working illegally.

Meanwhile, two individuals were arrested in Kuching for violating standard operating procedures (SOPs) in the past 24-hour period.

“One Chinese national was arrested for allowing karaoke in a reflexology centre while the other involved a local man who obstructed a civil servant from carrying out their duty,” Uggah explained.

A total of 12 compounds were issued with six in Samarahan, Padawan (4) and one each in Sibu and Miri for violating SOP.

Under Ops Benteng, the Armed Forces had detained two lorries attempting to smuggle essential goods and food on Jan 18 at Serikin. The estimated value of seizures including the two lorries was RM162,480.

Two motorcyclists were also arrested at a road block set up under the operation as they were suspected to be linked to the lorries and the illegal activity. — DayakDaily