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Some burnt their illegal structures
Published on: Saturday, June 08, 2024
By: Jonathan Nicholas
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Some burnt their illegal structures
A seashore shack set alight 
Kota Kinabalu: Some owners of illegal structures in Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP) in Semporna facing eviction burned their houses for the purpose of garnering sympathy and attention through social media, said Sabah Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew.

She said this was disclosed by police sources involved in the recent demolition of some 138 illegal squatter homes at the gazetted Park.

“The operation was carried out due to security issues following the recent shooting incidents in Darvel Bay (where policemen were injured) and cross-border criminal activities in the unauthorised settlement locations. The sovereignty of the nation’s laws in force in this issue must be upheld,” she stressed.

Agencies involved in the eviction included Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), Marine Police, Semporna District Office, Esscom, Immigration Department, National Registration Department and Semporna District Council. 

On Wednesday, Facebook user Tzu Wong uploaded videos and pictures of the Bajau Laut (sea gypsies) shacks in Bohey Dulang and Bodgaya islands. 

Christina said a meeting chaired by Sabah Parks and Semporna District Police Chief on the distribution of evacuation notices was held on April 26.

“The operation to distribute the notice took place from May 2 to 4. Notices were distributed to 273 unauthorised settlements within TSMP.

“The demolition and evacuation began from June 4 to 6 with 138 unauthorised settlements demolished. Other houses were demolished by the owners themselves and some owners left their homes as is,” she said in a statement. 

Christina said TSMP is one of the areas proclaimed as a Park area or a State Park. Any violations of provisions under the Parks Enactment 1984.

Fishing, erecting structures without permission and farming automatically empowers Sabah Parks to take actions accordingly. 

“The issue of deforestation on Bodgaya Island for agricultural purposes and the construction of over 200 structures without permission is an example of a violation against the Enactment.

“All actions that have been implemented have been agreed upon by the relevant agencies in several meeting sessions, including eight legitimate TSMP community representatives who unanimously requested the immediate removal of the unauthorised communities,” she said.

Christina said it was “not a violation of human rights” and that the sea gypsies have been squatting there for quite some time. 

“There are many technical issues behind this.

We need to identify and confirm their nationalities, have they been offered to live inland and refused to prefer that kind of lifestyle? 

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