The influx of illegal immigrants into Sarawak must be dealt with firmly to ensure it does not threaten the country’s sovereignty and public security.
Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud emphasised this when declaring open the first sitting of the fifth session of the 17th State Legislative Assembly (DUN) at the DUN Complex here yesterday.
“The rapid pace of development in Sarawak and its natural resources have attracted them (illegal immigrants) to seek jobs, do business and live here,” he said.
“Their presence causes anxiety and fear among the people as illegal immigrants are often associated with crimes and social problems,” he added.
Public security and peace, Taib stressed, must be given top priority so as not to affect government’s efforts to make Sarawak a progressive and harmonious state.
“I urge the government to put more efforts and be more committed to stem this problem,” he said.
“I hope this issue can be dealt with through better surveillance methods and proper use of manpower so that enforcement can be done effectively,” he added.
Taib also wanted enforcement agencies to have committed and concerted actions in eradicating the problems to ensure public safety and peace.
In addition, he called on the government to intensify efforts and enhance laws and regulations to protect and preserve the environment.
He warned that preservation and conservation efforts would be more complicated if measures were not taken to curb activities such as illegal logging and exploration in protected forests that could damage and destroy the natural surroundings.
“Also, we do not want leakages in the collection of state revenue to continue especially in the forestry sector as it will affect the state’s economy,” he said.
“The government has to act firmly and carry out continuous inspections in high risk areas. The credibility and commitment of the responsible parties in addressing this issue must be given,” he added.
Therefore, he stressed, collaborations between all parties including the Forestry Department, police and relevant enforcement agencies must be enhanced.
Meanwhile, Taib highly praised Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem for his achievements during his first year in office.
“With his vision and wisdom, I am confident that he can ensure Sarawak continue to develop with more progress, peace and achieve high income status by year 2020,” he said.
With the strong and undivided support and cooperation from the state cabinet, public sector and the diverse community, Taib believed the government would be able to implement the development agendas that had been properly planned for the betterment of the state.