Roadblocks no longer work, curb illegal entry with ‘integrated intelligence’

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

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KUCHING, March 4: ‘Integrated intelligence’ projects is the solution to curbing illegal immigrants (PATIs) into Sarawak now as scheduled roadblocks no longer seem to be effective.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said authorities have resorted to snap check operations to catch the illegal immigrants and ‘tekongs’ off guard.

“This is why there should be more resources allocated for integrated intelligence projects between the agencies involved like PGA (General Operation Force), ATM (Malaysia Armed Forces), PDRM (Royal Malaysia Police), Immigration and Customs.

“Hopefully, we can gain information and strategies to prevent these illegal activities,” he said in a press statement today.

Masing, who is also Border Security Control Committee chairman, said the issue has been persistent in the state because the ‘tekongs’ seem to be in a lucrative business of transporting PATIS from Indonesia with the help of local employers and other legal foreign workers.

Despite the authorities working round the clock to address the problem, he noted that this is still an on-going activity, thus the need for allocating more resources for intelligence-centric projects.

This was one of the points raised in the committee’s fourth meeting chaired by the Minister for Infrastructure and Port Development yesterday (March 3) where other ways to halt the activities of ‘tekongs’ were also discussed.

Meanwhile, the meeting was also briefed by an officer from the Ministry of Modernization of Agriculture, Native Land and Regional Development (MANRED) regarding plantation estates located near the Sarawak/Kalimantan border.

According to reports, there are 699 large plantation estates located at the border with the largest in Miri, followed by Bintulu and Mukah.

In 2020, the total number of foreign workers in the plantation sector in Sarawak was 68,960. In Miri alone, there were more than 16,000 foreign workers while in Bintulu and Mukah, the numbers were around 15,000 and 10,000 respectively.

The officer said MANRED has drawn up a Site Surveillance Plan for Agro-Community Sector aiming to ensure that all plantation estates comply with the Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) and to create more awareness regarding the matter among industry players and workers.—DayakDaily