Sun, 23 Jun 2024



Sabah govt will help Bajau Laut folk affected by demolition, says Hajiji
Published on: Tuesday, June 11, 2024
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Sabah govt will help Bajau Laut folk affected by demolition, says Hajiji
Sabah chief minister Hajiji Noor says the state government has ‘something good’ for the Bajau Laut community whose houses were torn down last week for security reasons.
PETALING JAYA: The Sabah government will assist the stateless Bajau Laut seafaring nomads whose homes were demolished during an operation in Semporna, says chief minister Hajiji Noor.

Enforcement officers oversaw the eviction and destruction of illegal stilt houses belonging to more than 500 Bajau Laut over several days last week, a move which has been criticised by rights groups and NGOs.

At a programme in Kota Kinabalu today, Hajiji defended the authorities’ decision to demolish the houses located on seven islands in the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, which he said was meant to uphold the state’s security and sovereignty.

“We have thought of something good for them,” he told reporters when asked how the state government will help those affected.

“Don’t politicise the issue as the state government knows how to handle it,” he said, adding that the details of the aid will be announced later.

He was speaking to reporters at the Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the state’s industrial development and entrepreneurship ministry and Kibing Group subsidiary SBH Kibing New Solar Energy (M) Sdn Bhd for it to increase its investment in the state.

Last Friday, Sabah tourism, culture and environment minister Christina Liew said the demolition was carried out after 273 illegal houses, built in the waters of the marine park, had been given eviction notices from May 2 to 4.

She said the demolition was ordered because of security factors at the district level.

In a statement on Sunday, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) called for immediate assistance to be provided to the displaced members of the community, including ensuring access to temporary housing, medical care and educational resources.

It said the Bajau Laut are a unique and historically marginalised community facing significant challenges, including limited access to basic services such as healthcare and education.

Suhakam also said there should be dialogue among the state government, the Bajau Laut community and humanitarian organisations to find a long-lasting solution to the community’s problems.

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