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Opening up State land to end Sabah squatter woe
Published on: Friday, May 25, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Sepanggar MP Datuk Azis Jamman said the Warisan-PH government will consider opening up State land for bona fide and deserving Sabahans as part of the solution to address the squatter issue in the district.

He said this to the media after a briefing at City Hall by Mayor Datuk Yeo Boon Hai and City Hall officers on Thursday.

Azis said the discussion with City Hall was regarding plans for Sepanggar where, during the 14th general election, the Warisan-PH coalition had promised to address key critical issues of squatters, water and traffic congestion as per its manifesto.

"So today's meeting was to get a clearer picture on the matters to be carried out such as land issues which will be brought to the attention of the State Government and Chief Minister."

Azis said after the briefing, he was confident that with the co-operation of City Hall and the State Government, the chronic squatter problems in Sepanggar would be solved.

"The squatter issue is quite a serious one. As Sepanggar is also the administrative centre of the Government, being surrounded by squatter areas can be an eyesore.

"However, for us, it is also a humanitarian issue as the people in the villages have been living there for some time already.

"So this is something I feel that can be addressed. I was made to understand during the briefing that there are now about 28,000 squatters in the area.

"This is something that needs to be addressed once and for all as it has been a longstanding issue and it is time.

With the new Warisan-PH government, the people of Sepanggar are hoping we can solve their problems once and for all."

He said among the solutions for the squatter problems in the area were the opening up of new State land.

"It is among the mechanisms that we can consider. There is a lot of State land that we can open up and give to deserving rakyat, which is also in line with the manifesto of the Warisan-PH government.

"We know in Sepanggar there are many areas gazetted as village areas but there are also many squatter areas.

So if the people in these squatter areas really deserve, we will ensure they are given the lands that can be gazetted as villages.

"With the opening up of State lands, we can solve two issues. One is we can do a census as we are also aware that in these squatter areas, there are also illegal immigrants living there.

"So if we open State lands and give them to bona fide and deserving Sabahans, we can also do screening and a census where document-less persons or illegals can be screened. Thus, we can solve the squatter issue quickly."

He said there are about 200 acres of available State land that can be opened as new areas in the Sepanggar area.

When asked for the time period to implement the move, Azis said they would try to expedite the process within one to two years.

According to the Mayor, with the new change of policy for land use under the new Warisan-PH government where priority was given for housing and the squatter problem, he was confident that the Sepanggar squatter problem can be solved.

Also present were Assistant Minister of Finance cum Inanam Assemblyman Kenny Chua and Assistant Minister of trade and industries cum Karambunai Assemblyman Azhar Matusin. - Neil Chan

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