Siti noted that the North Kalimantan provincial administration and BNPP personnel in Nunukan have sound procedures to prevent Indonesian travelers on the estuary from getting caught by their Malaysian counterparts.
"The Indonesian authorities limited boat traffic on the river from 7 am in the morning to 5 pm in the evening, local time. Outside these hours, motorists must request for an escort from maritime security forces, such as the Navy and water and air police unit (Pol Airud)," Siti said.
BNPP also fully supports the building of a monitoring post in Sei Ular. "The monitoring post is a good solution, because it can prevent Indonesian citizens from involuntarily straying to the Malaysian side [of Sei Ular]," she asserted.
However, Siti noted that the path of least resistance is best taken for Indonesian nationals who run into Malaysian authorities at the border. "If one came into contact with Malaysian border patrols, do not try to flee," she explained.
"Doing so will make them suspicious and trigger a chase. So it is best to be accompanied by the [Indonesian] authorities, or if that is not possible, stay put and explain one's situation."
Navigating nature and politics on the Sei Ular
The Sei Ular waterway is divided between Malaysia and Indonesia. The lack of border markers make Indonesians navigating the estuary unaware that they entered Malaysian territory, particularly at night.
Their navigational error led them to Malaysian authorities, who would then arrest them for illegally crossing the border.