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KUCHING, Jan 27 — The Malaysia-Indonesia borderline between Sarawak’s southernmost settlement of Teluk Melano in Lundu district all the way up to Lubok Antu district, which formed almost a quarter of the border length are hotspots for human trafficking and smuggling activities in the state.
According to State Deputy Chief Minister II Tan Sri James Jemut Masing, these areas along with Biawak, which is also in Lundu, and Serian, were considered hot spots as there are many villages located on both sides of the border and in close proximity to each other, making it easier for such illegal activities to take place.
“They (smugglers and illegal immigrants) only need to go on foot for a few hundred metres and cross the border to come to our side. This is dangerous as they may bring in contrabands and worse still, spread the Covid-19,” he said in a statement today.
The statement was issued after he received a comprehensive briefing by the General Operations Force, Royal Malaysia Police, Malaysian Armed Forces, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the Royal Malaysian Customs and Immigration Department on issues pertaining to entries into Sarawak via land borders.
The briefing which was held during the Sarawak Border Security Committee (SBSC) virtual meeting was also attended by Divisional Residents from all divisions in Sarawak and representatives from several other relevant agencies.
As the SBSC chairman, Masing said the border security situation now requires reinforcement measures and the state government is giving top priority to provide the necessary equipment to raise the efficiency of the relevant authorities to carry out their duties.
“Patrol vehicles like scramblers (off-road motorcycles), all-terrain vehicles and four-wheel-drive (vehicles) will be made available for this purpose. I have already recommended installing the solar-powered ConnectMe (a satellite-based communication system) in areas which are not reachable via telecommunication towers,” he said.
He added that the ConnectMe system is suitable in more remote border posts like Tapak Megah, Rantau Pandora in Kapit Division and Ba’Kelalan in Limbang Division which are facing a more pressing issue for basic telecommunication facilities. — Bernama