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Jaujan to focus on settlements, housing
Published on: Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Newly appointed State Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Jaujan Sambakong said he will focus on enhancing capabilities of the ministry so as to address issues involving settlements and housing in Sabah.

Together with his newly appointed Assistant Minister Hiew Vun Zin, he said they realised that these two issues are the most common complaints by Sabahans during roadshows few months back.

He said the focus on the issues would include looking into housing ownership and looking for suitable places to build houses.

"There are over three million people living in Sabah and the number of people owning houses have not reached such figure.

"In fact, there are many people living in squatter areas, especially in sub-urban areas, including civil servants as there are close to their working places although the areas are not provided with amenities like good roads, water and electricity supplies.

"This happens because it is difficult to get land to build medium-cost housing based on affordability.

This is also happening in the East Coast, particularly those living in coastal areas," he said when commenting on issues and matters that the ministry will focus on.

Jaujan said this after chairing his first Ministry meeting and briefing by directors and heads of departments and agencies under the ministry at Wisma Innoprise here, Tuesday.

On squatters, he said it is not easy to eradicate them but the ministry will make efforts to reduce the number.

"If we want to eradicate the squatters, the tasks would be complicated and will face many constraints, especially when many of them like to live near the city and major towns due to difficulties in owning houses based on their monthly income.

"Even a RM5,000 monthly salary would not be enough to buy a medium-cost housing here.

"In the end, they end up living in squatter areas and that is why there is quite a number of squatters.

Hence, the ministry and relevant agencies will make this problem among our main focus," he said.

Jaujan said he is optimistic that the Sabah Housing and Town Planning Authority (LPPB) has measures to address these two issues as well as identified areas that needed to be given priority.

On the development in Tanjung Aru and Sembulan which also involve squatters, he said the ministry plans to upgrade it.

"We would not relocate them but instead upgrade these areas as they have been staying there since their ancestors' time. We cannot simply move them to Semporna as I believe they would have 'headache'.

The same thing goes with the islanders…if you move them to Kota Kinabalu, they would not be able to live normally.

"That is why, there is a need to look for compatibility in this matter and we will do a study based on the locality and current needs of the people. We have to be compassionate as they have families living with them," Jaujan said.

On the tenure of councillors in district and municipal councils, he said the ministry would review it based on existing laws and regulations.

"Of course with a new government, there are new leaders…but nonetheless, we would do a review.

As for councillors who are 'orang lama' in the council, if he or she has been performing well, we would consider maintaining them.

"At the same time, I think what matters are the service and performance of these councillors.

But prority would be given to new people," he said. - Hayati Dzulkifli

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