Land, cash for villagers

PENAMPANG: The state government will give compensation, lucrative benefits and facilities to the villagers affected by the Kaiduan Dam project, said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan.

He disclosed that this would include the relocation, monetary compensation and cost of living benefits to the affected villagers.

It is understood that the three affected villages are Kampung Timpayasah, Tiku and Babagon Laut and the residents will be relocated to an area near Babagon Laut.

Perhaps, Pairin said one of the most promising takeaways from the announcement was the fact that every leader of the households would be entitled to a five-acre land for farming, along with a RM500 monthly allowance for the next three years.

On top of that, each household leader will receive RM10,000 solely for relocation expenses by way of compensation, together with the sogit payments, which will be calculated according to their respective customs.

Each household leader will be given a 0.3-acre housing lot. Other facilities such as a preschool, primary school, police station, road access to multiple routes, various utilities, a church and a surau, community halls, a sports field, sundry shops and a cemetery site, will be built in the vicinity.

“It is vital for phase three of the Kota Kinabalu water supply project to have a series of studies, one of which is the current Social Impact Assessment study. This will be used as a platform for the villagers to voice their opinions,” Pairin said in his speech during his working visit to Kampung Terian on Friday.

The Infrastructure Development Minister added that another study would be conducted for the preparation of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment report.

Pairin reiterated that some of the grounds raised by the villagers in the objection of the project were unjustified, adding that the villagers should control their emotions when voicing their opinions.

Responding to claims that the government had made a fool out of the villagers, Pairin stressed that no one was a ‘fool’ in this issue, stressing that the government only had pure intention in its mind.

As for the objections based on the grounds of ‘heritage’ and ‘tradition’, he said that this was a backward mentality, without thinking of the needs of the future generations.

The visit, which included a dialogue and a sharing session, was meant to educate the villagers of Kampung Terian and its surrounding areas, he said

He reiterated, on numerous occasions, that Kaiduan Dam would benefit residents in Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Tuaran, Papar and their surrounding areas, and it would only solve problems and not create one.

According to studies, Sabah will not have enough clean water supply by 2022, and the Kaiduan dam will be able to sustain supply up to 2050 and beyond.

Later at a press conference, Pairin disclosed that Kampung Terian would not be affected by the Kaiduan Dam project.

Earlier, upon his arrival at the village, the villagers greeted Pairin with a rather hostile reception.

It is understood that the villagers were misled into believing that their beloved village will also be wiped out by the said project. They said that all they wanted was a ‘black and white’ confirmation that their village would be safe.

Pairin has since confirmed that Kampung Terian will not be affected by the Kaiduan Dam project.

On a separate note, he announced that the government would be building a seven-kilometre road heading to Kampung Terian from the sealed road entrance.

The proposed road is estimated to cost around RM7 million and it will link Kampung Terian to multiple routes, as well as opening doors for more economic activities.

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