The long Sarawak-Kalimantan border makes it hard to eliminate them
KUCHING: A high-ranking Indonesian official admitted that activities such as illegal logging, flesh trade and human trafficking are rampant along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.Indonesian Consulate-General in Kuching, Bapak Rafail Walangitan told the media this at the sideline of the ‘Business Opportunities in West Kalimantan’ seminar held at a leading hotel here yesterday.
“Such illegal activities do happen along the border. We try hard to eliminate them by working closely with the Malaysian authorities such as the Police, Immigration and Customs Departments.
“You must understand that we have a long border that both countries have to look after. The so-called ‘jalan tikus’ (literally, mouse route) is now as big as a ‘jalan gajah’ (elephant route).
“Thus there are always opportunities for people to carry out illegal activities,” said Rafail.
He also admitted that there was vice trade along the border by gangsters and some corrupt government officials.
“We have to eradicate such activities through the help of enforcement agencies of both countries.”
Asked to comment on the suggestion by Deputy Home Affairs Minister Datuk Wira Abu Seman Yusop recently that the Malaysian government had proposed to build fences on certain stretches along the border, Rafail said it would be expensive.
“The idea is good but it’s not applicable. Our government thinks that enforcement needs to control and guard the fences.
“If we have good cooperation to prevent these activities, then there is no need to build the fences,” he said.
Rafail stressed that to enforce law and order along the border, both countries might need to look to modern technologies to help them control illegal activities.
“The use of CCTV (for instance) could also help prevent them. The main point is to find a good policy in patrolling the border area,” he said.
Since 2005 however, the incidence of these illegal activities had declined due to increased monitoring by both countries.
“As far as illegal logging is concerned, it has declined. The most important thing is how to control these activities more effectively,” he said.
Both countries have worked closely to minimise these illegal activities through various platforms such as Sosok-Malindo, BIMP-EAGA, people-to-people contact and a direct ‘G to G’ cooperation.
“Through these platforms we can solve various issues amicably,” he said.
Rafail said the government had intensified its efforts to reduce the incidence of corruption among top government officials.
“Tackling corruption is our government’s biggest task. We have set up a commission to combat corruption.
At the same time, we have set new laws as corruption has given us a bad image.
“It’s our commitment to minimise corruption as it is bad for the people and the economic development of the country,” added Rafail.