Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Jainab and Pekida come to aid of squatters
Karambunai assemblywoman Jainab Ahmad has promised to assist genuine local squatters in Kampung Teluk Likas, Likas here to get a replacement house before their houses are demolished by the relevant authorities. Jainab who is also the Assistant Industrial Development Minister, made the pledge after receiving a memorandum submitted by the Islamic Welfare and Sermon Organisation of Malaysia, Sabah Branch (PEKIDA), appealing for the State Government’s consideration to temporary put on hold the imminent demolition exercise on the squatter houses in Kampung Teluk Likas, until a proper settlement/resettlement scheme is in place. The memorandum which contains the name list of the affected squatters and their requests among others, was handed by Pekida Sabah chief Dr Datu Mohd Akjan B. Datu Ali Muhammad at a resort hotel here on Monday. Jainab said she would do her level best to assist those affected squatters to relocate to the nearest possible Government housing schemes like the three-room walk-up apartments in Telipok Ria, which only charges a monthly rental of RM124. “We will do our best to assist them but we will first screen their background first to ensure that no unqualified persons, including illegal immigrants, would take advantage of the situation,” she stressed, Following the numerous appeals, from the affected squatters, Jainab wrote to the City Hall appealing for postponement of the demolition exercise.
She also acknowledged that the State is caught in a dilemma in its effort to eradicate squatters, especially for facing criticism from various parties, including the opposition if it does not take action against the squatters.
However, she hoped that if offered a place in Telipok Ria later, those affected squatters would not reject it, to prevent the Kampung Warisan Phase II incident from recurring where the houses that were originally offered to some of them during the relocation exercise in 1998 were later occupied by someone else, after they had rejected the offer citing financial burden. Jainab pointed out that those who are earning less than RM886 a month can always apply to the relevant Federal agency to have the rental waived until a period when they can afford it. She thanked Pekida Sabah, especially Dr Akjan, for facilitating in the resolving of the problems faced by Kampung Teluk Likas squatters. Meanwhile, Dr Akjan pointed out that while there could be some foreigners among the squatters, those in its list are locals who have been staying there for more than four decades. “Many of them are our members and that’s why we are submitting a memorandum to the State Government to seek a proper and fair settlement for them before their houses are demolished. Our investigation also found out that due to shortcoming in its implementation, these squatters were neglected in the relocation exercise carried out by the relevant authorities in 1998, to relocate them to Kampung Warisan Phase II in Inanam,” he said. It was estimated that more than 100 families are going to be affected by the demolition exercise to pave way for a private development project. “We in Pekida would be most grateful if the State Government could take into consideration of our members’ plight and to temporary put on hold the demolition exercise until a proper resettlement scheme is in place,” said Dr Akjan.