Thong: Help small biz, Sarawakians instead of building wall

Raymond Thong

By Christopher Lidom

KUCHING, Jan 24: Allocate funds to help the people and small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, instead of building a wall along the state’s border, opines Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) Southern Zone director of political affairs Raymond Thong.

Thong, in a press statement today, said Sarawak’s domestic economy is already suffering because of the Covid-19 pandemic and many people have lost their jobs and many small businesses have closed down.

“Nobody knows when this pandemic is going to end, and now is the time to help the people to find jobs and assist the small business to get back on their feet. We should allocate funds to help them. Is it wise at this moment to propose a RM24-billion border road?” he asked.

Thong said this in response to Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing’s suggestion to build walls and fences at strategic places along the Sarawak-Kalimantan Indonesia border to curb the influx of illegal immigrants into the state, which was published in a local English newspaper, recently.

Thong pointed out that although there is a need to secure the state’s border, in the era of information and technology, the usage of technology such as drones and electronic surveillance is cheaper and more effective than building a wall.

“Whether we build a wall or use modern technology to secure our border, it will still come to nothing if we lack effective and strict enforcement control,” he added.

On the same note, Thong also suggested that the Sarawak government should consider constructing a railway system following the border all the way from Tanjong Datu to Sabah and linking the major towns in Sarawak.

He explained this will serve as a wall and transport to open up the whole state, especially the rural areas for agriculture, tourism, mining and also to transport goods from Kalimantan to Bintulu Port for export.

“It will also provide easy access for our security forces along the border as well as ease congestion on the Pan Borneo Highway,” he said. — DayakDaily