KUCHING, Jan 13 ― Sarawak will beef up its border security to reduce any possible spread of Covid-19 by those entering the state illegally from Kalimantan, state Border Security Committee (SBSC) chairman Tan Sri James Masing said today.
He said this will involve increasing and intensifying monitoring and enforcement efforts along the border areas.
He said government agencies such as the General Operations Force, police, military, Customs Department and Immigration Department will need to carry out more operations to curb the flow of illegal entries and smuggling activities.
“From the reports by the state Medical Department of Sarawak police and Immigration Department, about 70 per cent of Covid-19 related cases in Sarawak are imported cases,” Masing, who is also the deputy chief minister, said in a statement issued after chairing the SBSC meeting.
He said it is almost impossible to flatten the curve of the virus infection in Sarawak if border security measures are not strengthened.
Masing singled out the border areas in Lundu and Biawak where illegal immigrants enter the state.
He said they then travel to other parts of Sarawak, like Kuching, Sibu and Miri, in search of work.
He said SBSC will work very closely with the state Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) to secure funding for the procurement of the necessary machinery and equipment for enforcement agencies to ensure more aggressive monitoring at the border.
“This includes more patrol vehicles like scramblers, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and four-wheel-drive vehicles and high-capacity drones.
“On the part of SBSC, we will have a weekly meeting starting this week to ensure updates are communicated and efforts by all agencies are coordinated and synchronised well,”he added.