KOTA KINABALU, Sept 21 — An Indonesian news video showing easy entry into the state at the Indonesian-Sabah maritime border has raised alarm over the purported ineffectiveness of Sabah’s security forces.
The 10-minute video from Indonesia’s TransMedia Kontroversi programme showed their reporters masquerading as Indonesians looking for work in Sabah, crossing the border illegally from Nunukan island to Tawau with relative ease.
The video alleged that hundreds of Indonesians from South Sulawesi and Nusa Tenggara Timur crossed the border through the same passage daily via Pari Pari port in Nunukan, only having to pay off security officials between RM50 to RM100.
“It’s an open secret here,” said Sri Tanjung assemblyman Chan Foong Hin from the DAP, adding that locals have known about the alternate entry for years.
The video claims other than the Batu-Batu access on the Sabah coast that was used in the video, the boats also go through other back access roads like Kalabakan, Sungai Udin and Sungai Fui.
The video, which is being shared on Facebook, WhatsApp and local blog sites, have irked locals, who said that the security breach is an embarrassment to the heavily funded Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom).
Moyog assemblyman Terrence Siambun from PKR said the government must take the matter seriously and investigate how the maritime waters were so easily breached even before docking at Tawau.
“I am shocked to watch the video of how our corrupted security enforcement personnel were easily bribed between RM50 to RM100 in order to let the Indonesian past through our beloved Sabah’s border,” the Sabah PKR vice chief said.
“I am not certain as to whether the Tawau police had done or not done their investigation on this serious matter, but I do ask them as well to apprehend the culprits involved especially the human traffickers and to impose heavy punishment against these nation’s betrayers,” he added.
He said that the well-honed practise has likely been going on for decades and despite the knowledge of local authorities, nothing has been done to stop them. The volume of immigrants has increased ten folds over the years and contributed to the huge population jump in the state.
Siambun said that Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, who also chairs the Sabah Security Council, should take personal responsibility over their failure to protect Sabah’s sovereignty.
“They cannot simply wash their hand and leave everything to the police,” the opposition assemblyman said.
Tawau police chief assistant commissioner Fadil Marsus said that police are aware of the video and are in the midst of investigating the security personnel involved.
“We will take action against any misconduct,” he said.
The east coast of Sabah has long had cross border issues due to the plantation industry which relies almost solely on foreign workers, mostly from Indonesia.
The close proximity of Sabah to islands in Indonesia and southern Philippines have exacerbated the problem and led to other issues such as cross border kidnapping.
“Authorities in Tawau have been battling such syndicates, but the geographical nature of Sabah and Indonesia in this case makes it easy for them to evade authorities using those back access roads,” he said.