Media statement by MP for Bandar Kuching, Dr Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen On 20 January 2021:
Before Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Jemut Masing makes “outrageous” suggestion that will cost billions of public funds, maybe he should better understand the real situation on the ground and address immediate needs including adding additional guard post and integrating it with modern technology and more importantly, addressing corruption even among the authorities.
Before he does a “Trump” which may cost billions to build a wall around the boders of Sarawak-Kalimantan, he should first address some of the real issues on the ground for the benefit of Sarawak in the long-term.
On the Indonesian side, there are actually more guard posts compared to us along the border. We do need to erect more of such posts as well as integrating it with technology such as electronic monitoring via drone or camera etc. That will definitely require some investment but definitely not as much as building a “wall”.
We also need to activate a “whole of government approach” or “whole of agency approach” when dealing with such a complicated issue, which means that the agencies cannot continue to work in silos, but must find better ways to collaborate and work together. This includes agencies such as immigration, army , customs..etc which will have to coordinate their efforts and even data sharing for a more comprehensive action on the border.
What is most important is that we need to ensure that our agencies have the highest level of integrity. A lot of issues happened when integrity is compromised and corruption took place. For example, until now there seems to be little progress in the case where an agent had brought in and smuggled back 4 Indonesians that tested positive for Covid-19.
There are strong concerns that such smugglers and human traffickers from Kalimantan in Indonesia may bring in more Covid-19 cases into Sarawak. In many cases, there are allegations that the authorities have some part in the whole syndicate and that is why we need to nip the problem in the bud and address this issue of integrity properly.
We do not want some bad apples to undermine the efforts of all the agencies involved.
Fact of the matter is, the Malaysian Armed Forces has maintained good relations with Tentera Nasional Indonesia (TNI). The long term solution to all these issues is to see the economy of Kalimantan grow in tandem with ours on in the Sarawak side to the level in which there is no more need to cross over to this side.
That is why Sarawak must look into building deeper ties that are mutually beneficial with Kalimantan. It is not easy but it is cheaper than building a road/wall that may cost billions. Plus it generates more goodwill between the two countries and thus generating better socio-enomic cooperation between the 2 regions.
That is why I urge both the Federal and Sarawak government to better understand the situation on the ground and to properly address each issue at its core. There can be a bi-partisan committee where both the government and opposition are invited to the border to better understand the situation at the posts together and to let us determine if there is a real need to “build a wall” at our borders.
Kelvin Yii Lee Wuen
MP Bandar Kuching