Baru wants border graft probe results released

Desmond Davidson

Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian has urged state authorities to release outcomes of their probe into graft among GOF personnel manning the Sarawak-Kalimantan border. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, November 22, 2023.

BA Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian has requested that state authorities disclose the outcome of their probe into corruption among General Operations Force (GOF) personnel providing border security in his constituency.

The state started the probe after Baru June claimed in June that GOF personnel manning the remote Sarawak-Kalimantan border crossing were demanding money from Indonesians entering the state.

He told the Sarawak assembly today his complaints were from two Long Bawan district officers who had come to Sarawak as part of a delegation to attend a Lun Bawang festival.

Long Bawan is the nearest and largest town on the Indonesian side of the border.

The Parti Sarawak Bersatu (PSB) secretary-general said the Indonesian district officers were legitimate visitors who had complete and proper inter-border documents (Pas Lintas Batas) when they passed the checkpoint.

He said GOF personnel had asked them for “RM200 to RM1,000”.

Baru said in the past, GOF staff allegedly asked for “up to RM1,500”.

He also said GOF personnel would seize and confiscate rations Indonesian visitors bought in Lawas town before they leave Sarawak.

He told the assembly one of Indonesian officers said rules on which items were allowed into Indonesia appeared to change according to who manned the post.

It was adding confusion, Baru said.

“There are times certain items are allowed, but other times they will not be allowed. There have been numerous complaints about incidents like this for many years but no action has been taken to stop it,” he said.

“This ugly practice gives our Indonesian neighbours an extremely negative perception of Sarawak and deters them from visiting us.

“We need people of integrity who are honest and sincere to man our border posts. Corrupt officers who bully our visitors must be dealt with severely to clean up the GOF.” – November 22, 2023.

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