KUCHING: Over 1,250 suspects have been arrested for motor vehicle thefts in Sarawak since 2001 and over 1,800 vehicles believed stolen and worth some RM26mil seized.
State Assistant Minister for Industrial Development Datuk Awang Tengah Ali Hassan said the number of vehicle thefts was on the rise.
He said for the first 10 months of this year, 1,582 motorcycles, 263 cars and 465 other vehicles, such as lorries, vans and 4WDs, had been reported stolen, compared to 2,249 for the whole of last year.
There was also a significant increase in the number of lorries, vans and 4WDs stolen, from 254 in 2001 to 335 last year and 465 from January to October this year.
“A total of 524 people have been arrested this year as compared to 370 in 2001 and 361 last year,” he added in reply to questions raised at the state assembly.
Awang Tengah acknowledged that some of the stolen vehicles had been smuggled into neighbouring Kalimantan through jalan tikus (illegal border crossings) in Bau, Lundu, Batu Lintang (Sri Aman) and Lubok Antu.
He said authorities in Sarawak and Kalimantan had set up a task force and taken several measures to check vehicle thefts.
Since 2001, enforcement agencies seized 1,264 motorcycles, 367 cars and 191 lorries, vans and 4WDs, he added.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu told Peter Nansian Nguise (BN-Tasik Biru) that the popular Sarawak-West Kalimantan border town of Serikin would be developed as a service centre for trading activities.
“This will include the development of a proper trading area with necessary facilities and shophouses and a customs, immigration and quarantine (CIQ) complex near the border.”
He said priority would be given to the construction of the CIQ complex in view of the active cross-border trade and the need to improve security at the border area.
Assistant Minister for Finance and Public Utilities Datuk Ambrose Bilikau told Frederick Bayoi (BN-Kedup) that some 500 kampungs and longhouses had yet to get power supply.
He said from 2000 to March this year, some RM311mil had been spent to provide electricity to 1,437 kampungs and longhouses under the rural electrification scheme.