Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) Sarawak Director Mohd Zaki Hassan. Photo: Ramidi Subari

TEBEDU: The high purchasing power in Sarawak is one of the reasons why illegal immigrants (PATI) from neighboring countries are sneaking into the state.

“We work hard to control our border but outsiders will always find ways and loopholes to enter the state illegally because ‘Sarawak bumi bertuah’ (land of opportunity).

“If we eat durian and we throw away the durian seed, it will grow by itself.

“You can even open up a stall by the side of the road and sell whatever you want – ice tea, chocolate drinks, people will still buy.

“The purchasing power is there. These sort of opportunities become the attraction factor to outsiders, to come and seize it,” said Sarawak Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) director Mohd Zaki Hassan.

He was speaking at the ‘Sempadan Kita, Maruah Kita’ (Our Border, Our Pride) programme held at Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security (ICQS) Tebedu here on Thursday (Oct 15).

He said it was the nature of such outsiders to look for illegal ways to enter the state.

Despite the General Operations Force (GOF) manning existing rat trails to curb the entry of illegal immigrants, they would always find ways to look for new ones, he added.

“What’s even worrying is these illegal immigrants may be carrying the deadly Covid-19 virus and could spread it to the locals.”

Zaki expressed his appreciation to the state’s security and enforcement agencies for their contributions and sacrifices in manning the state’s borders.

He reminded them to uphold integrity in their duties at all times and take action against some of the officers involved in immoral activities.