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By Geryl Ogilvy
KUCHING, May 2: The lack of Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) checkpoints in Serikin has led to a free flow of people, goods and vehicle traffic into Sarawak from West Kalimantan, creating a dangerous situation for the state.
Datuk Henry Harry Jinep (GPS-Tasik Biru), thus, urged the federal government to consider erecting a CIQ complex in Serikin.
“It is a known fact that there is little security control at the Serikin border. Indonesian traders move freely to trade and sell their goods in Serikin, which is inside the Malaysian territory.
“There may be criminal elements moving and intermingling among the traders that could pose security threats. We should not be complacent but remain vigilant,” he said when debating the TYT’s speech at the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.
Henry also made reference to the arrest of foreign terror suspects in Serian in March this year as another reason to enhance border security.
Malaysia shares a long land border with Kalimantan, Indonesia, with boundary length of about 2,019km stretching from Tanjung Datu, at the northwestern corner of Borneo, to the highlands of the Borneo hinterland and to the Gulf of Sebatik and the Celebes Sea on the eastern side of the Borneo Island.
The boundary separates the Indonesian provinces of North Kalimantan, East Kalimantan and West Kalimantan with the Malaysian region of Sabah and Sarawak.
“In Sarawak, the land border contains numerous ‘jalan tikus’ or illegal entry points, making it easy for illegals to enter Sarawak to find employment and as conduits for smugglers to transport their wares,” he pointed out.
Henry said his Tasik Biru constituency, home to the thriving Serikin weekend market, had attracted a steady flow of local visitors and foreign tourists since its inception in 1992.
Serikin is a Bidayuh village situated about 3km from the border with Indonesia and 20km southeast of Bau town, situated some 35km from the city.
As such, the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) lawmaker said it was no surprise that most of the stalls at the Serikin weekend market were operated by Indonesians. He added that vendors from Kalimantan cross into Serikin on motorbikes and minivans to sell fruits, handicrafts, furniture, clothes and other goods.
On a positive note, Henry commended the security personnel, such as the police and the army, for safeguarding Serikin from any untoward incidents that may endanger the lives and properties of the people in Serikin and neighbouring villages.
“Both the army and police have on many occasions successfully thwarted smuggling and theft of controlled items and vehicles from Sarawak into Kalimantan,” he said.
Meanwhile, Irene Chang (PH-Bukit Assek) raised the need to tighten border securities and immigration checkpoints. She cited the Feb 2 incident this year, where three terror suspects were arrested in Serian, as a good example.
“As reported, the Egyptian (terror) suspect had come to Serian to open a restaurant and married a vulnerable Sarawakian woman in order to obtain a spouse visa. This is a very serious security breach in our homeland,” she caution.
She reminded the august House of the need for the government to be sufficiently vigilant and to beef up its security measures. She lauded the action taken by the state immigration department to scan all foreigners at all entry points into Sarawak.
Chang cited former IGP Tan Sri Mohamad Fuzi Harun as saying that foreign terrorist fighters have been trying to make Malaysia a safe haven, a transit point, logistics hub and a launch pad for terror attacks in the Southeast Asia region. — DayakDaily