KUCHING: Sarawak will further enhance its border operations in order to control and curb the movements of illegal immigrants into the state.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing expressed concern over the increasing number of illegal immigrants entering Sarawak despite various operations and roadblocks being conducted statewide.
Masing, who is also chairman of the state Border Security Committee (SBSC) disclosed that from January to June 15 this year, a total of 292 operations were conducted by the Department of Immigration including 29 in collaboration with other authorities where 1,169 illegal immigrants were detained for various offences including illegal entry and overstaying.
“During the fifth meeting of the Committee on Wednesday (June 16), the relevant enforcement agencies including General Operations Force (GOF), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Malaysian Armed Forces (ATM), Immigration Department and Medical Department as well as Divisional Residents gave comprehensive briefings and updates.
“In 2021, a total of nine employers and eight trafficking agents or tekongs have been charged,” he said.
Masing noted there were repeat offenders and said the authorities have to fund a solution to curb the issue.
“It is like a cat and mouse game that these irresponsible culprits are playing with us, quite akin to the ‘catch me if you can’ syndrome. We need to find a solution to further curb this issue and what we are more concerned about is the report that a portion of these illegal immigrants are repeat offenders.
“We catch and send them back, but they seem to keep coming back. They are entering Sarawak through the numerous rat trails or jalan tikus along our border. Until and unless we can guard our jalan tikus or seal them completely, these people will continue to cross our borders.
“Sending them back to Kalimantan is not a solution as they keep on coming back by crossing the border through jalan tikus again and again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Masing who is also the Minister of Infrastructure and Port Development congratulated Mancha Ata on his new appointment as the deputy commissioner of Police Sarawak effective June 11 this year.
Mancha took over from Datuk Fisol Salleh who was transferred to Penang.