KUCHING, May 5 – New Askar Wataniah (Territorial Army) recruits will be absorbed into the 31st Border Brigade that was just formed to tighten security along Malaysia’s border with Kalimantan, Indonesia, said Defence Minister Datuk Hishammuddin Tun Hussein Onn. He said the move, besides creating job opportunities for Sarawak youths, was crucial for maintaining security along the 2,019.5km-long Malaysian-Indonesian border.
“A total of 3,250 Sarawakian youths have registered to join Askar Wataniah. This is indeed an achievement to be proud of and I hope very much the people of Sarawak will take advantage of this opportunity,” he said at the “Gelombang Askar Wataniah” programme at Kem Penrissen here yesterday night.
He said the 31st Border Brigade also had a secondary task which was to provide security for important installations like the Bakun, Murud and Baleh dams in the Kapit Division of Sarwak. The 31st Border Brigade, the newest infantry brigade in the Army, was formed to increase defence capabilities and support other infantry divisions in Sabah and Sarawak, apart from the border security duties.
Apart from this, Hishammuddin also said that Malaysia together with the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting-Plus Experts Working Group (ADMM-Plus) had conducted a field exercise to bolster the security and reassure the people on Malaysia’s security.
“The exercise was a responsibility of the government to deter maritime threats, apart from enabling Malaysian Armed Forces personnel to gain valuable experience and skills. Also with this exercise, there is the element of show of force to foreign vessels that have the intention to encroach into the country’s waters, thus curbing their entry into Sarawak waters and also prevent illegal fishing,” he added.