Aris speaks at the press conference. – Photo by Chimon Upon

KUCHING (Jan 20): Early preparations must be made for Sarawak to deal with an expected influx of illegal immigrants crossing the state’s border with Kalimantan, once the economy picks up and the need for labour increases, said National Task Force (NTF) commander Vice-Admiral Dato Aris Adi Tan Abdullah.

He said currently, the number of illegal immigrants entering the country through the Sarawak-Kalimantan border is not at an alarming rate and can be handled by security forces.

“The issue of the presence of illegal immigrants is under control and I do not see it as a major issue of concern.

“The important thing now is that we must take precautionary measures and make early preparations so that when the mass influx occurs to meet the needs of labour later, we are ready to face it,” he told a press conference here today.

“With Sarawak now in Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), there might be an increase of illegal immigrants coming to the country.”

Aris had earlier chaired the Coordination Meeting on Cooperation of Departments and Public Agencies in the Aspects of Sarawak Border Security at Wisma Bapa Malaysia.

He said from May 2020 to December last year, a total of 1,169 illegal immigrants were detained while attempting to enter Sarawak via Kalimantan, while a further 1,654 immigrants were deported.