NUNUKAN, KOMPAS.com - Indonesia is particularly focusing on its border with Malaysia along the estuary of the Sei Ular river in North Kalimantan province's Nunukan regency, after Malaysian authorities repeatedly nabbed Indonesian nationals for illegally crossing the border.
Indonesian officials went to Sei Ular last Wednesday to see the maritime boundaries firsthand.
The officials came from the National Border Management Agency (BNPP), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Kemenlu), the Ministry of Home Affairs (Kemendagri), and the Coordinating Ministry for Political, Legal and Security Affairs (Kemenko Polhukam)
"[BNPP] are cooperating on an inter-agency, as well as on the transnational level to resolve the issue of illegal crossings," said BNPP Assistant Deputy for Maritime and Air Borders Siti Metrianda.
"BNPP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will coordinate with Malaysian and Indonesian maritime forces, as well as the Indonesian Consulate in Tawau, Malaysia. We will mitigate the number of border crossings whle we resolve the roots of this complex problem."
Taking geography into account
Siti hoped the Indonesian consulate in Tawau can explain to Malaysian authorities that the border crossings are a misunderstanding.
"The shallower part of [Sei Ular] is on the Indonesian side of the border, while the deeper end of the estuary is in Malaysia. The tide naturally goes with the deeper water, leading travelers to the Malaysian side," Siti added.
"These geographic factors should be taken into consideration by Indonesian and Malaysian maritime security personnel."