Tiong blasts locals smuggling illegals

Tiong King Sing

KUCHING: Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing has ripped into a number of locals who have helped facilitate the entry of illegals into the state.

He said with the illegals being brought into Sarawak without being quarantined, it could be a time bomb for further Covid-19 outbreaks locally.

“It is alarming to know that there are locals who colluded with migrant workers and their intermediaries to smuggle them in through various means like hiding in lorries, cold storage trucks, container lorries, and others to enter the oil palm estates.

“It is known that the fees charged by these local intermediaries can run up more than RM2,000 per head.

“Suffice to say, myself and other responsible people are extremely disappointed with these local intermediaries and employers who could bargain away the health and pandemic prevention of their country for selfish gains,” he said.

Tiong said the act by the perpetrators violated immigration laws and failed to adhere to the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to curb Covid-19.

“Although the employers of these illegal workers have arranged for them to undergo Covid-19 screening before work, they failed toc onsider the number of people that their illegal workers could potentially have contacted throughout the smuggling process.

“This is incredibly irresponsible and short-sighted. It would guarantee that Bintulu will not achieve the zero-confirmed-case goal,” he said in a statement today (July 31).

The MP said based on confirmed case data from the Bintulu Health Department, no fewer than five Indonesian workers have entered the district illegally, making it difficult for contact tracing and isolation.

“How many illegal migrant workers are actually hiding in our communities and potentially causing silent outbreaks?

“I strongly urge that once any oil palm estate is detected with a confirmed case, it must be closed for 14 days or longer if needed at the cost of the company or owner in order to contain further outbreaks,” he said.