KUCHING (Oct 20): The security forces have detained 497 illegal immigrants and 28 skippers who attempted to enter and exit Sarawak via illegal border tracks (jalan tikus) between May 1 and Oct 18 during Op Benteng.
The integrated operation, which involved the Armed Forces, Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), Ministry of Health (MoH), Royal Customs Department, Immigration Department and People’s Volunteers Corps (Rela), had also conducted 56 deportations of illegal immigrants.
“As a measure to curb the spread of Covid-19 by illegal immigrants, the Op Benteng under National Task Force (NTF) coordinated by ATM as an the leading agency continues to increase its vigilance in border control in Sarawak, be it at land or maritime borders.
“This aspect of vigilance is given attention, especially looking into the increasing situation of the pandemic in Sabah. This control also focuses on the illegal border tracks (lorong tikus) that becomes the hotspots for illegals to enter and exit Sarawak, ” the Armed Forces said in a statement today.
The Armed Forces said the NTF assignment in Sarawak covers the operation of the maritime component covering eight maritime patrol sectors involving the Royal Malaysian Navy (TLDM), MMEA and Marine Police, while the eastern land component involves the Army, General Operations Force (PGA), the Immigration Department, Customs Department, Rela and MoH.
Through the Sarawak-Kalimantan land border control, the Armed Forces said Op Benteng was empowered with existing operations namely Op Awas/Keris Parang, Op Kerangka, Op Suluh Kenyalang and Op Jagakawan operated by the Army – while the Op Awas/Batas and Op Benteng PDRM are operated by GOF.
All of these operations involve border control in Biawak, Kandaie, Serikin, Tebedu, Balai Ringin and Lubok Antu sectors.
“The community, especially in Sarawak, is urged to cooperate by providing any information regarding illegal immigrants, smuggling activities, border encroachment or any cross-border criminal activity through the NTF Operations Center hotline (011-6251 1223).
“The cooperation from all parties is greatly appreciated in the effort to ensure that this operation can be carried out successfully.”