State govt considers making current border security strength permanent

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, May 19: The government may consider maintaining the current number of security personnel along the border on a permanent basis to curb smuggling activities along the 1,500km-long Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Masing disclosed that since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, state security forces, with a strength of some 876 personnel from the army and General Operations Force (GOF), have managed to foil various attempts to smuggle goods, including contraband and drugs.

“We may consider the possibility of making it a permanent feature,” Masing told DayakDaily when contacted today.

On a related issue, Masing who is the chairman of the Border Security Committee disclosed that the Sarawak government has already sent food items to Indonesians living along the border, follwing successful G-to-G negotiations recently.

“However, attempts to smuggle controlled goods including onions and gas cylinders recently were foiled by our security forces,” he added.

The Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) president also advised people not to be too eager to celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai Dayak this year as the Covid-19 pandemic still poses danger.

“The Covid-19 curve may be flattened in Sarawak but it doesn’t mean that we have gotten rid of the coronavirus.

“The virus is still around waiting for people with weak immune systems or those with weak (sic) medical history to be infected. It is because of this the government is wise not to allow visiting during Hari Raya and Gawai Dayak because it just take one infected person to infect others. It doesn’t require 20 people to infect others.

“Missing one Hari Raya or Gawai won’t kill us, but if Covid-19 gets hold of us we may die. So, just be patient and stay home,” he advised.

Masing also lauded the recent decision made by the Sarawak government to prohibit both Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Hari Gawai Dayak visits this year.

“Family gatherings for Hari Raya or Gawai Dayak is allowed. But don’t invite others outside your family circle because they may be asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19,” Masing reminded. — DayakDaily