Uggah speaking at the daily Covid-19 update press conference.

KUCHING: Illegal crossings through rat trails (jalan tikus) and security threats at the Sarawak-Indonesia border are expected to increase when the movement control order (MCO) is lifted.

Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas, who gave the warning, said, “This is due to Malaysia’s ability to control Covid-19 efficiently, especially in Sarawak.”

He said the illegal immigrants were also attracted by ample employment opportunities in Malaysia. 

“Since the implementation of ‘Ops Benteng’ on May 21 this year, the army, police, Sarawak General Operations Force (GOF), the Royal Malaysian Customs Department and the Immigration Department have arrested a total of 221 illegal immigrants and expelled 29 immigrants.

“From the figure, nine cases involved smuggling, with 215 items worth RM12,833,945.13 confiscated,” he said at the daily Covid-19 update press conference.

Uggah said SDMC had urged the Special Security Council Meeting to strengthen the operation by increasing the number of enforcement personnel along the Sarawak-Indonesia border.

He added  over the weekend, the Sarawak Immigration Department conducted simultaneous operations to eradicate illegal immigrants  throughout the state.

The operations were held in Kuching, Sri Aman, Sarikei, Mukah, Sibu, Kapit, Bintulu, Miri and Limbang Divisions. In addition, a total of 36 construction sites, plantations, industrial estates and business premises were inspected.

“From the operations, 187 individuals were arrested for committing offences under Section 6 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act 1959/63 for not having a valid document or pass and Section 15 (1) (c) of the same Act for staying overtime in Malaysia.

“The Sarawak Immigration Department will not compromise with anyone who has committed an offence against the Act and stern actions will be taken against employers found to be employing illegal immigrants as well as any person who protects illegal immigrants,” the deputy chief minister said.

On the compounds issued to errant individuals for failing to comply with the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in public places, he said the police had issued three compounds — two in Miri and one in Betong.

Uggah also revealed that the Ministry of Local Government also issued 69 verbal, written and seizure warnings in areas under the supervision of various local councils.

Under ‘Ops Benteng’, a total of 1,007 vehicles were inspected at six roadblocks in five districts – two in Lundu and one each in Bau, Serian, Sri Aman, and Lubok Antu.