Armed Forces to tighten border security to prevent new COVID-19 cluster


THE Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) has always prioritised strengthening the country’s sea, land and air border controls and efforts are continuously being carried out to protect the country’s sovereignty.

Chief of Defence Force General Tan Sri Affendi Buang said although the country current facing the COVID-19 outbreak, the border control operations continued to be intensified following Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s directive on April 10.

He said the directive was issued in an effort to avoid the possibility of illegal immigrants entering the country and bringing the COVID-19 virus with them.

“To ensure a more effective approach, the MAF has been mandated to coordinate the operations with other security enforcement agencies under the National Task Force (NTF),” he told Bernama.

Affendi said the integrated operations was also dubbed ‘Ops Benteng’ and involved personnel and assets of the armed forces as well as other enforcement agencies.

“Among the agencies involved are the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, the Ministry of Health, the Malaysian Civil Defence Force, the Immigration Department and the People’s Volunteer Corps.

He said the operations also involved assistance and coordination from other agencies, including the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department, Malaysian Border Security Agency, the Marine Department, the Customs Department and the National Anti-Drugs Agency (AADK).

“With the involvement and cooperation of personnel and assets of all security and law enforcement agencies, God willing, the land and sea border controls will be tightened,” he said.

He said the move also assured the health authorities that no one could carry COVID-19 virus to Malaysia and start a new cluster.

Affendi said the move would not affect the existing deployment of MAF personnel and assets in assisting PDRM to enforce the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO) and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO).

Recently, Bernama reported that Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob disclosed that several arrests on illegal immigrants had been made after the authorities established the integrated country’s border controls in an effort to deal with the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak.

In addition, the government has also identified rat trails, including along the west coast of the Peninsula, the east coast of Sabah such as Semporna and Lahad Datu and in Sarawak.