Foreign workers may be allowed back to Sarawak in March, says Uggah

Sulok Tawie
·1-min read
Foreign construction workers are pictured in Kuala Lumpur January 20, 2021. Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the Sarawak government’s operations against illegal immigrants, especially at construction sites and oil palm plantations, are under constant review. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
Foreign construction workers are pictured in Kuala Lumpur January 20, 2021. Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said the Sarawak government’s operations against illegal immigrants, especially at construction sites and oil palm plantations, are under constant review. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUCHING, Feb 19 — The Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) will recommend to the state government that foreign workers should be allowed to enter the state from next month, its chairman Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah said today.

He said the move is to reduce the number of foreigners entering the state illegally to seek jobs in Sarawak.

“By having legal foreign workers, we can also make sure that they are tested for Covid-19,” he told reporters during his media briefing on the Covid-19 pandemic situation here.

He said the state government’s operations against illegal immigrants, especially at construction sites and oil palm plantations, are under constant review.

“But it seems that the operations are insufficient to curb the illegal entries,” he said.

Uggah added that the state government is aware that illegal immigrants enter the state through “rat trails” along the Sarawak-Kalimantan border.

He cited as example the recent arrests of a group of Indonesians from Badau, West Kalimantan, in Betong as well as that of another group near Sri Aman, by the Immigration Department.

“It appears that the illegal immigrants are smarter because they can escape detection by our security forces who man the roadblocks or monitor the ‘rat trails’,” Uggah, who is also the deputy chief minister, said.

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