squatters on govt land need to get approval
Published on: Thursday, December 06, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: District Officer, Sungkim Rumangun , said no one is allowed to stay on and build a house on government reserve land belonging to any department or agency without approval from the department and agency concerned. He said this in response to a separate findings at government reserve lands belonging to the State Railway Department (JKNS) and Public Work Department (PWD) here during an integrated operation with the police, Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Corp, Immigration and villagers.

Tenom Parliamentary Liaison Officer, Apiang Sauson, and Melalap Community Development Officer, Francis, among others, were also involved in the checks at Kg Pagansangon and Kg Pulong.

At Kg Pagansangon, they discovered slightly more than 100 people have built homes illegally in a JKNS's reserve land there.

The squatters claimed to have been given approval by a JKNS officer but none of them were able to show any letter from JKNS when asked to do so.

Sungkim said he will write a letter to JKNS to verify on the status of the people concerned because their claims that they have been given approval seems to be just a verbal answer.

"We have told the people concerned that all dwelling structures that have been illegally erected there will be removed and the land must be vacated within 14 days if JKNS did not approve them living there," he said when met by reporters at his office.

Sungkim said most of the "settlers" are locals who were mostly former workers of a plantation nearby but have since retired.

Some among them are local women but married to foreigners.

He said the presence of these people have created unease not only among the Kg Pagansangon villagers but also those at Kg Pulong and Kg Kasiai.

At the event, the District Officer ordered for a dwelling structure found in the PWD reserve land in Kg Pulong to be torn down because the department has never consented to anyone to stay there.

He said the structure must be removed immediately. - Mail Mathew


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