Get fed govt to fund border walls

Raymond Thong

KUCHING: Should the Sarawak government proceed with the construction of walls or fences at strategic locations along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border, it is hoped that the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government could help by providing funds.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) Southern Zone director of political affairs Raymond Thong questioned that if there are no funds from the PN government, will the state government proceed to build it using the state’s own funds?

“We know that we need to secure our borders. But is building a wall the only option? Perhaps we should use technology to secure our border which is cheaper and more effective,” he said on Sunday (Jan 24).

Thong was responding Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing’s suggestion to build walls or fences at strategic locations along the state border with Kalimantan to curd the influx of illegal immigrants into the state.

However, he added that even if the wall is built, it will still come to nothing is there is a lack of effective and strict enforcement control.

“Also, instead of constructing the RM6 billion Second Trunk Road (STR) and proposed RM24 billion border road, perhaps the government should consider constructing a railway system following the border all the way from Tanjung Datu to Sabah and linking major towns in Sarawak,” he said.

He said this will serve as a wall and provide transportation to open up the whole state, especially the rural areas, for agriculture, tourism, mining and also transportation of goods from Kalimantan to Bintulu Port.

“It will also provide easy access for our security forces along the border and also eases congestion on the Pan Borneo Highway,” he pointed out.

On top of that, he stressed that Sarawak’s domestic economy is already suffering because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and many people have lost their jobs while many small businesses have closed down.

“Nobody knows when this pandemic is going to end. Now is the time to help the people find jobs and assist small businesses to get back on their feet.

“We should allocate funds to help them. Is it wise at this moment to propose a RM24 billion border road?” he asked.