Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MDTCC Limbang head: No report of smuggling after strict enforcement

Posted on May 6, 2015, Wednesday

Tadam showing the photos he took recently of subsidised Malaysian goods sold openly in Indonesia, and a letter to the government.
Photo taken by Tadam showing a Malaysian vehicle (left) pulling another vehicle with no registration number used for transporting subsidised Malaysian goods.
Vehicles with no registration numbers believed to be stolen from Malaysia. — Photo by Tadam
Zakaria Awang
MIRI: Cross border smugglers are feeling the heat and have slowed down their activities following the expose of a rampant flow of controlled subsidised goods from Sarawak to Kalimantan.

The rampant smuggling along the Malaysian/Indonesian border settlements particularly in Ba Kelalan and Long Bawan were highlighted in the media by thesundaypost and See Hua Daily News last week.

Ministry of Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism (MDTCC) Limbang branch head Zakaria Awang said in the last five days no reports of smuggling were detected by enforcement agencies stationed there since May 1.

“Seven of our officials are currently stationed at the border post in Ba Kelalan since May 1 to jointly enforce the law with other enforcement agencies like the Police and Immigration Department, particularly to curb smuggling.

“So far, we have not received any report on smuggling although undeniably it was rampant lately. Our officials will be stationed there on a one-week rotation basis until the situation improves or when directed by the state or federal management teams to continue or otherwise,” Zakaria said when contacted by The Borneo Post yesterday.

He was asked to comment on yesterday’s report in The Borneo Post quoting Deputy Home Affairs Minister Dato Sri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar saying the police would deploy General Operations Force (GOF) personnel to guard the borders, including at Ba Kelalan, in order to tighten border security and to curb smuggling of subsidised goods and to prevent stolen vehicles making their way across the border.

Wan Junaidi was quoted to have said: “I am studying and planning for the overall security of the border area, and this includes having additional CIQs (Customs, Immigration and Quarantine) along the 2,700km of Sarawak (1,950km) and Sabah (700km) border.

“This plan was made after getting input from the police and Immigration Department of both states. I am also pushing for additional battalions of GOF in Sarawak to man strategic areas and border areas. I have briefed the chief minister on this plan. He is supportive and assured us of the state’s support.”

On April 26, thesundaypost highlighted claims by Ba Kelalan resident Tadam Arun that a tar-sealed road built two years ago to Long Bawan had opened the floodgate for smuggled goods to flow across the border.

He alleged the new road was also a boon for car thieves as they could now drive the stolen vehicles across the border.
Tadam stressed that smuggling activities in the past were rampant but in small quantities, but with the road, stolen vehicles of all makes, subsidised Malaysian goods like petrol, sugar, cooking oil, and even drugs could be brought across the border freely.

Tadam also claimed lax control at the checkpoint was the reason smuggled goods and hundreds of stolen vehicles could cross the border so easily and be sold at very cheap prices there.

He urged both the federal and state governments to find a speedy solution to the problem, which he said had not only caused hardship to the locals in Ba Kelalan as the people including Indonesians shunned traders in Ba Kelalan and instead bought subsidised Malaysian goods sold in Long Bawan which were much cheaper.

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