Thursday, May 23

3,000 squatters in Bintulu in dire straits


BINTULU: About 3,000 people who have been squatting on state land near the Kidurong Industrial Estate area for the past 30 years are now in a dilemma as they have been asked to vacate by the new land owner.

Kidurong assemblyman Chiew Chin Sing, who visited the affected community yesterday upon receiving complaints from them, said the problem involved more than 400 families.

“I am very upset with the government for giving the land to a private company. The government should come up with a holistic solution to the problem and make arrangements for the relocation of the affected residents.

“They cannot be chased out as it would be unreasonable (to do so),” he said.

He added that the affected people were poor and it was thus the responsibility of the government to help them.

One of the affected squatters, Roslin Using, who is a widow with eight children, said her family would stay put because they have neither money nor an alternative place to go to.

“If we are given a proper place, then we can consider moving out. That way we don’t have to worry about our kid’s future, especially those who are studying at a school nearby.”

Another squatter, who is known only as ‘Salleh’, claimed that they had never been notified by any quarters that a project would be implemented in their area.

“The only thing we get is a signboard, installed by a company, asking us to move out from the area otherwise legal action would be taken,” said Salleh.

He added that in the early years, the squatters there had to pay rental to the local authority.

However, the local authority stopped asking for rentals some 25 years ago and no reason was ever given.