Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing

KUCHING: The state government is mulling the establishment of a permanent base to guard ‘rat trails’, which could become routes for smuggling food and drugs.

Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr James Jemut Masing urged the federal government to also look into the issue.

“It is no use for us to guard our airports and ports (front door) while out backyards are wide open to smugglers,” he said here yesterday.

Masing alluded to the smuggled syabu worth over RM400,000 that was found by soldiers at Tebedu border last Monday.

According to a spokesperson of the Army’s First Infantry Division, a patrol team from the 4th Regiment Royal Armoured Corps discovered a backpack containing five packages suspected to be syabu worth RM422,370 while patrolling a ‘rat trail’ near Inland Port Tebedu about 200m from the border.

Masing said such incidents could happen anywhere at ‘rat trails’ along the state’s border with Kalimantan, Indonesia.

He said recently, Hulu Rajang MP Datuk Wilson Ugak Kumbong, along with a team from Kapit Division, paid a visit to General Operations Force (PGA) at Long Singut, Baleh – near the border with Indonesia.

“Datuk Wilson Ugak’s party met about 10 Indonesians in the jungle, on Sarawak’s (area) side.

“Apparently, they have been in and out of this area many times over the years. Not only that, they have links with Sarawakians from Kapit or Sibu, who supplied them with food.

“These people may be involved in smuggling drugs from Indonesia to Malaysia.

“The Sarawakians – who are so-called traders would pick up the drugs from the Indonesians and sell them to rural towns and settlements in the state,” he lamented.

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Caption: A New Sarawak Tribune report on the discovery of a backpack containing five packages of suspected syabu worth RM422,370 by the army.