Sarawak group to look into influx of people from western Asia

Francis Paul Siah of the Movement for Change, Sarawak, says the porous border with Brunei is a problem.

KUCHING: A Sarawak civic organisation is working on a study into the rising number of foreigners found in semi-rural areas of the state, while expressing its concerns about the impact of such an influx on the social fabric of Sarawak.

Francis Paul Siah, head of the Movement for Change, Sarawak, said the society would work closely with all political parties, community leaders and religious organisations to preserve Sarawak’s way of life.

“We hope to complete this study by the end of this year or the first quarter of next year,” he said, adding that they would submit their findings to the state and federal governments for further action.

The state director of Immigration said recently that 950 Pakistanis and possibly 2,000 others from the Middle East had been found in semi-rural districts of the state.

Siah said genuine immigrants coming to Sarawak to work or study would be welcomed. However, the safety of Sarawak’s people should not be taken for granted.

“The arrest of an Egyptian terror suspect for alleged involvement in Islamic State activities in Serian early this year is a case in point,” he said. “He has already indoctrinated his Sarawakian wife to be an Islamic warrior and this is a very serious case.”

Siah said most of these immigrants were found in Limbang, Mambong, Samarahan, Serian, Betong, Bau, Matang, Julau and Kapit.

“We have also received reports that these migrants have been going in and out of Sarawak via the lax immigration posts at Tebedu and Serikin,” he said.

The porous border with Brunei had also raised difficulties for the authorities to tackle the issue.

Siah also alleged that some Immigration officers had been prepared to “sell their souls” to overlook the entry of these aliens.