KALABAKAN, Nov 13 — Development at the new border towns of Sebatik, Tawau, and Serudong, Kalabakan here, which is the gateway from Kalimantan, Indonesia, should emphasise strengthening security and developing basic infrastructure.
Sebatik Assemblyman Hassan A Gani Pg Amir said the two things should be implemented in parallel with the proposed border town development.
“The security aspect is necessary because there are only two security checkpoints in the border area from Kampung Sungai Melayu, Sebatik to Serudong, Kalabakan compared to eight security checkpoints in Kalimantan, Indonesia.
“What I am worried about is that, in my area there are 29 rat lanes identified by the Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) that are used by illegal immigrants and smugglers,” he said.
He said this to reporters after inspecting the border area of Serudong and Simanggaris, Indonesia, with the Housing and Development Board (LPPB) chairman Datuk Masiung Banah here today.
Last Tuesday (Nov 9), Chief Minister Datuk Hajiji Noor said a Regional Development Authority (RDA) would be set up to manage the new border town in Serudong, Kalabakan, which would be one of the four gateways from Kalimantan, Indonesia to Sabah.
The other three are at Long Pasia, Pagalungan and Sebatik.
Hassan said the government also needed to ensure development of basic infrastructure, namely roads, water and electricity supply, before the border town were to be developed as provision of basic facilities reflected the country’s image.
“How can we develop the border area without good basic facilities provided in advance , while almost 1,000 kilometre of roads in Kalimantan have been completed in preparation for the transfer of the Indonesian capital to the region in 2024,” he added.
Meanwhile, Masiung said LPPB was prepared to assist the RDA in the developing the four new border towns involving Long Pasia, Pagalungan, Sebatik and Serudong in Sabah.
He said a state’s development starting with the development of basic infrastructure and for that it is hoped that the federal government can provide the necessary assistance to Sabah.
On his visit to the Serudong-Simanggaris border, Masiung said he was disappointed with the road condition there compared with Indonesian side.
“The road (on the Indonesian side) is pretty, of asphalt, but we in Serudong, if we don’t use four-wheel drive vehicles, we can’t reach the border,” he added.
Meanwhile, he said, a 420 acres of land in the Kampung Sungai Melayu area in Sebatik, which borders Indonesia, will be developed in stages with the concept of a tourist town, involving the construction of commercial centres, hotels, golf courses and housing.
“We just hope that investors or developers, whether local or foreign, come forward to help LPPB develop the village,
“LPPB is allocating RM3 million for infrastructure development which starts this year,” he said, adding that Kampung Mentadak in Sebatik near Nunukan, Indonesia has the potential to be developed as a tourist area. — Bernama