IO – The National Border Management Agency (Badan Nasional Pengelolaan Perbatasan – “BNPP”) has identified 29 unofficial crossing points along the Indonesian-Malaysian border in the Sambas Regency and Bengkayang Regency, West Kalimantan Province. If not dealt with comprehensively, these unofficial border crossings may cause legal, social, and economic problems in the future. “These 29 unofficial border crossing points are distributed in 9 villages and 3 districts in the Regencies of Sambas and Bengkayang. These numbers are based on data collected by the National Army’s Border Security Task Force,” said BNPP’s Deputy in National Border Area Management, Robert Simbolon, on Tuesday (29/09/2020).
The unofficial border crossing points in Sambas Regency are located in the Paloh District (2 points in the Temajuk Village) and the Greater Sajingan District (1 point in Sei Bening Village and 2 points in Sebunga Village). In the Regency of Bengkayang, they are located in Jagoi Babang District (2 points in Pareh Village, 7 points in Semunying Village, 1 point in Semunying Jaya Village, 4 points in Sekida Village, 6 points in Jagoi Babang Village, and 4 points in Siding Village). Simbolon states that the BNPP has jointly identified these crossing points with the Immigration Office and the National Army, from 28 September to 3 October 2020. They have also performed in-depth investigation in four points. “The purpose of identifying these unofficial border crossing points is to map them out, and to formulate a more detailed and comprehensive policy for these lines that are not yet declared to be official crossing points,” he said.
Simbolon further elaborates that the Indonesian–Malaysian land border separating West Kalimantan Province from Sarawak stretches across five regencies: Sambas, Bengkayang, Sanggau, Sintang, and Kapuas Hulu. The 966-kilometer long borderline passes through 98 villages and 14 districts. The two countries have agreed on 12 traditional Borderline Posts (Pos Lintas Batas – “PLB”) and three Transnational Crossing Posts (Pos Lintas Batas Negara – “PLBN”) as official crossings. The traditional PLBs are managed by the Directorate General of Immigration of RI’s Ministry of Law and Human Rights. The services available for the crossing of people across the border in accordance with the Border Crossing Agreement are provided using these PLBs. The three PLBNs are managed by the BNPP as the gateway of the countries. They serve the crossing of persons and goods and require the use of applicable travel documents, i.e. passports and cross-border passes. “These PLBNs have an integrated border crossing service system that includes immigration, customs, quarantine inspection and services, as well as supporting Army and Police Liaison Officers,” he said.
At the end of August, the RI-Malaysia Border Security Task Force Yonif R-641/Beruang has patrolled these unofficial pathways along the two countries’ borders, in order to prevent illegal activities that may take place with the opportunity provided by the COVID-19 pandemic. Such patrols have successfully prevented and suppressed various illegal activities, such as the smuggling of horticultural commodities, basic necessities, liquor, and narcotics (specifically methamphetamines), and even human trafficking. In fact, the number of illegal Indonesian migrant worker border crossers who cross from Malaysia to Indonesia has significantly decreased. Unlike the hundreds of persons who used to cross every month, only 14 were caught crossing illegally this month.
Commander of the Yonif R-641 Task Force Lieut. Col. Inf. Kukuh Suharwiyono stated amid his work that the monitoring of unofficial paths and patrols along the borders will continue until his tour of duty ends. “In the army, we call it ‘never allowing attack momentum to fall off.’ Therefore, we will continue to monitor these unofficial paths day and night, and we will hand over this duty to the next Border Security Task Force appointed to replace us here,” he said. (dan)