KUCHING: Coordinated roadblocks will be set up to nab tekongs (coordinators) responsible for harbouring illegal immigrants (Pati) into Sarawak.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing said a joint task force will be set up for the purpose involving multiple government agencies.
“The main concern now is not only to ensure adequate and regular patrols at countless jalan tikus or jalan gajah along the border but looking at nabbing tekongs who are responsible for bringing illegal immigrants into Sarawak.
“Tekongs, employers or existing foreign workers who are found guilty of harbouring illegal immigrants will face heavy fines or punishment for the crime,” he said when chairing the Border Security Control Committee meeting on Wednesday (Feb 3).
He said the task force, chaired by Infrastructure and Port Development Ministry permanent secretary Datuk Safri Zainuddin will comprise the Police, General Operations Force (PGA), Armed Forces, Immigration, Road Transport Department (JPJ) and Customs.
Masing said the government would not hesitate to take serious actions against those found guilty. He added roadblocks would be set up at entry points such as Lundu, Serian, Bau, Biawak, Balai Ringin and Lubok Antu.
He noted that there were also incidences of foreign workers who harbour illegal immigrants who happen to be their relatives or friends from their respective hometowns.
In the meantime, Masing said the committee would look at a mechanism in allowing legal foreign workers to come into Sarawak as high demand for foreign workers was one of the reasons for illegal immigrants in attempting to sneak into the state.
“This team will also look into formulating a more structured policy so that these foreign workers can be allowed into Sarawak in a structured and safe manner. Like it or not, our industries in Sarawak do need their services,” Masing said.