14/04/2023 03:58 PM

KUCHING, April 14 (Bernama) -- The Sarawak government is ready to cooperate with the federal government by offering sites to build more Malaysia-Indonesia border posts in the state.

Sarawak Premier Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the additional posts are important to combat the illegal entry of foreigners and upgrade the capacity of the customs, immigration and quarantine complex (CIQ) in the state.

"The border posts are under the Ministry of Defence so we (the Sarawak Government) do not have the authority to (create the posts ourselves). We are cooperating by offering the sites," he told reporters after officiating the 2023 Raya Donation Presentation here, today.

In January, the Prime Minister who is also Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim approved an additional allocation of RM1 billion for projects to upgrade and build better infrastructure along the border of Sarawak and Sabah.

The border between the two states of Borneo consists of 1,881 kilometres that separates Sarawak and Sabah in Malaysia, and Kalimantan in Indonesia.

Abang Johari also suggested that the Tebedu Border Post, about 97 kilometres from here, be moved and upgraded to be closer to the Malaysia-Indonesia border to curb smuggling activities in the free zone or 'no man's land'.

"The Indonesian government has upgraded its border control post in Entikong, so we on the Malaysian side must also upgrade (Tebedu)," he said.

Meanwhile, in his speech he advised community leaders and the public about possible social problems following the entry of foreign workers into Sarawak since the state government has already started opening the border to foreign labourers.

Earlier, the Premier of Sarawak and his wife Puan Sri Juma'ani Tuanku Bujang distributed aid in the form of Hari Raya Aidilfitri food to 11 recipient agencies comprising security forces and enforcement agencies on duty ahead of this festival.

Among the recipients of the programme organised by the Sarawak Women and Family Department are the Malaysian Armed Forces, the Royal Malaysia Police, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department and the Malaysian Prisons Department.