KUCHING: A big percentage of illegal immigrants are entering Sarawak via Limbang and Lawas, says state police commissioner DCP Datuk Wira Muhammad Sabtu Osman.
The northern region’s waterways were being used as entry points, Sabtu told reporters here yesterday, assuring that measures were being taken to overcome the situation.
“They come in via the sea then onwards to Miri,” Sabtu said. “Of course they also come in via the (Kalimantan-Sarawak) border. The border is more than 1,000km long. It’s not fenced up.”
Sabtu said enforcement efforts would mostly be joint operations with the Immigration Department, the military and police.
“We’ve been submitting compiling evidence and furnishing reports since last year to the National Security Council. Operations are mostly handled by the Special Branch.”
Asked about Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem’s recent outburst that not enough had been been to curtail the problem, Sabtu said among the reasons was timing.
“We have been monitoring their (illegal immigrants’) movements. We have to wait for the right time to carry out joint action with Immigration (Department). What was important at the start was information. You got to track their activities.”
Sabtu said most of the illegal migrants entered the state to work, and that most were not here to create trouble.
He said the situation in Sarawak was not like Sabah’s. “Most are workers (who are) not engaged in violent activities. If they were, we would have taken immediate action. Our efforts so far have been to stop the influx into Miri, preventing the number from expanding,” Sabtu said.
The state police chief called on the public “not to worry”.
On human trafficking, he said the police handled 89 cases last year – all involving prostitution. He said 29 employers of the foreign prostitutes were detained, and four cases have been brought to court so far.