Tighten border security to prevent importation of Covid-19 Delta variant via illegal crossings

Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING, June 25: Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing voices concerns over the possibility of the Covid-19 Delta variant originated from India being imported into Sarawak by illegal immigrants through the border.

Masing, who is also chairman of the Security Control Committee, said it is worrying that the Malaysian Armed Force (ATM), General Operation Force (PGA) and the Immigration Department, which have been tasked to secure the State’s border with Indonesia, reported that the illegals were coming back through hundreds of “jalan tikus” (illegal border crossing trails) after their deportation a few days later.

He explained that some of these repeated offenders were from Java and the neighbouring islands where the Delta variant of Covid-19 are found and they can be the carriers of this deadly Covid-19 variant to Sarawak.

“This must be prevented at all costs. That’s why we must secure our hundreds of ‘jalan tikus’. I have asked ATM, PGA and the Immigration Department to be on alert. They have been very dedicated in carrying out their responsibilities by the numbers of illegal immigrants they have caught in the last few months,” he said in a statement today.

Masing noted the State’s border forces were given various equipment to help them such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), scrambler motorbikes, drones and other telecommunication gadgets, but the infiltration by illegal immigrants continues.

According to him, this is because the creation of new “jalan tikus” every second day, once the old ones were detected.

“My suggestion of building fences at some strategic places along our border because of the danger posed by Covid-19, was however, scoffed by the opposition and netizens,” he added.

On June 18, 2021, a Japanese-based news portal (Nikkei ASIA) reported that Java is imposing regional lockdowns as hospitals had failed to cope.

On June 17, 2021, a total of 12,624 new cases were detected in Central Java and out of these, 107 cases were detected to be caused by the Delta Variant which is more infectious and dangerous, which had originated from India . A week before this, only 32 cases of the Delta Variant were recorded.

This has caused President Joko Widodo of Indonesia to demand 700,000 vaccines per week and one million vaccines per month to battle Covid-19.  — DayakDaily