More money from state coffers to boost border security

Army chief General Tan Sri Datuk Zamrose Mohd Zain blessing a 4WD vehicle while (from left) East Field Command Chief Lieutenant General Datuk Mardzuki Muhammad and Third Infantry Brigade Commander Brigadier General Datuk Azhar Ahmad look on. Photo: Ghazali Bujang

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has agreed to allocate the required budget to further strengthen border security.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri James Jemut Masing said allocation had been set aside for the purchase of assets such as all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and Scrambler motorcycles to navigate the rough terrains and also communication equipment to ensure continuous and uninterrupted transmission of information between the border posts and headquarters.

“As these are pertinent matters in guarding Malaysia’s border, it is only fair that the Sarawak government will seek reimbursement from Putrajaya for these expenses.”

He was speaking here, Tuesday (Feb 23), after chairing a meeting with Sarawak General Operations Force (GOF) commander SAC Mancha Ata and Sarawak GOF operations/intelligence officer DSP Sahamran Ibrahim at his office.

Masing who is chairman of the Border Security Control Committee, was briefed on the possibility of retaining JPG Op Awas Merirai Post, Op Benteng Tapak Megah and Long Singut Post in an effort to tighten Sarawak’s border security.

He said with Tapak Megah as the forward base, it would serve as a permanent post with a strength of 26 personnel as the post is close to the settlement at Long Nawang, about 20km from the border.  

“Five years from now, Indonesia will have its capital city in Palangkaraya, Kalimantan and this is close to Sarawak,” affirmed Masing, who is also Infrastructure and Port Development Minister. 

He stressed that not only would Tapak Megah further ensure the security of Sarawak but it would safeguard the state’s gems – Bakun Dam, Murum Dam and Baleh Dam.

“The post at Sungai Tunoh will also assist in our border security.”

Masing said the GOF and the police had reported constant cases of unlawful entry of immigrants from Indonesia through the state’s borders.

“Each day, more than 10 illegal immigrants are caught trying to make their way into Sarawak.

“We are not only worried about our borders being invaded by them but with the current situation of the Covid-19 pandemic, we are also worried about the spread of the virus by these illegals.”