Believing that economic activities and the population pressures will increase in Sabah-Kalimantan border areas, PBS is calling for a special infrastructure development plan.
KOTA KINABALU: Sabah Barisan Nasional coalition member Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) wants the government to set up more border posts along the Sabah-Indonesia border with customs and immigration personnel manning them round the clock.
PBS information chief, Johnny Mositun, said that only a few of the better-known crossing points, for instance in Kalabakan, are manned.
“It is common knowledge that there are many other places along the long border where people just walk across the border using forest trails and timber tracks.
“These places have no customs or immigration posts and the only government presence there comes from security forces patrolling the border,” he said yesterday.
He was commenting on recent news reports alleging collusion between police and security personnel and foreigners seeking entry into the state.
Mositun said that it would not cost the government too much to build permanently manned border crossing posts at a few more strategic points along the border with Kalimantan, similar to those in Kedah, Perlis and Kelantan which bordered Thailand.
“We might as well start setting up such posts because there is every indication that the Sabah-Kalimantan border is even now taking on greater economic importance with increasing timber and plantation activities.
“Population pressures will increase in this area as this is one of the last remaining areas in Sabah and Kalimantan where there is still land for large-scale development,” he said.
Need for infrastructure plan
He added that it was also time to consider drawing up a special infrastructure development plan for the Sabah-Kalimantan border area so that it would no longer remain isolated and difficult to access.
“Illegal activities flourish in remote and isolated areas. Illegal loggers, human traffickers, smugglers and other criminals can easily avoid detection and evade law enforcers in such places.
“Good communications and transport infrastructure is a must if our law enforcement agencies like customs, immigration and security forces are to carry out their responsibilities effectively along the Sabah-Kalimantan border from Tawau in the east up to Long Pasia,” Mositun said.
He said that it was troubling to note that law enforcement personnel were being bribed to help illegal immigrants enter the state.
“At present, we don’t know if there’s any truth to that allegation, but the commissioner of police has started an investigation.
“Once the investigation is complete, we’ll know more, whether it is an isolated case or widespread.
“We also don’t know if only individuals are involved or human trafficking syndicates are behind such activities.
“Hopefully, the police will get to the bottom of this matter soon,” he said.
Mositun also called on villagers in the border areas to help the authorities by reporting the presence of suspected illegal immigrants and their movements.
“Local villagers should not be complacent or indifferent. If they see suspicious activities taking place they should, as loyal and civic-minded citizens, report these to the authorities without delay,” he said.
Mositun, nevertheless, said the BN government has confidence in the police and security forces.