Pulau Tikus may be transit point for illegal immigrants

Lee (sixth left) addresses the media. At fifth left is Miri Resident Antonio Kathi Galis.

MIRI: Local fishermen have claimed that Pulau Tikus, near Kuala Baram river mouth, is a transit point for illegal immigrants especially Suluks from the Philippines to enter Miri.

Assistant Minister of Communication Datuk Lee Kim Shin said Kampung Batu Satu Lutong fishermen had said the illegal immigrants were using Pulau Tikus to hide from enforcement personnel patrolling Miri waters.

“Pulau Tikus is one of the transit entry points from the sea as reported by local fishermen to me and I have informed the authorities concerned to monitor the area,” he said following the second Miri Divisional Security Taskforce meeting yesterday.

He said the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and Fisheries Department will conduct river blocks at both Miri and Kuala Baram river mouths.

Lee said illegal immigrants were also entering Miri by land through various locations.

He disclosed that last Thursday, an Immigration Department operation at Batu Niah saw 14 illegal immigrants arrested, while a shotgun and an air riffle were seized.

“All were remanded for 14 days under standard operating procedure and are currently detained at the Immigration Detention Camp in Bekenu,” he said.

In response to claims of maltreatment, Lee pointed out that the illegal immigrants are provided with food, drinks and medication, while two of the women were taken to Miri Hospital to deliver their babies.

On accusations the authorities had demolished houses belonging to local squatters at Pujut 7, he said: “I wish to clarify that all the 14 houses demolished were owned by illegals, not locals.”

He pointed out that Sabahans or those from Peninsular Malaysia who wish to work in Sarawak also need to apply for work permits under the Sarawak Immigration Act and not just use social visit passes. Those with information on illegal immigrants in their area can contact the police hotline on 085-433400.

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