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Squatters urged to cooperate with authorities in dealing with flood woes
Posted on : 01 Dec 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post
 

(only availables in English version)

SIBU: People who built 371 squatter houses along Sebiew River, Bintulu, are urged to understand the problems faced by the authorities in dealing with the flood problem so that they can find other places to settle.

Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said to understand the problem, the residents were asked to attend a dialogue session with the district officer, community leaders, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), and Land and Survey Department next week.

Tiong (left) and Hussaini at the press conference.

The district officer would provide a timeline for the residents to move, he said, adding  that they would work together for the benefit of all in an effort to solve the problem of flash floods in Bintulu.

“If they don’t cooperate, we do not have other option but to use enforcement officers to move them.

“When the timeline is up and they still refuse to move, we also suggest that all illegal connection of utilities in their settlements be disconnected,” he told a press conference after chairing the special post-flood meeting at the Bintulu Resident Office yesterday.

Deputy Resident Hussaini Hakim as well as heads of government departments and agencies were among those present.

Tiong, who is also Special Envoy to China and Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president, said if they did not move from squatter settlements along Sebiew River their houses would be affected when a river expansion work is carried out because it would mean expanding the river width by four metres.

“The whole expansion work covers a width of 100 metres. The squatters must understand this because we are doing this for the benefit of the entire community,” he said.

On their part, Tiong said they would get help from the Land and Survey Department to find a solution, and also find an area in Kampung Jepak for them (squatters) to build their houses.

“At the moment we are in talks with the BDA to provide basic housing for them but it may take one to two years to finish.

“I hope they can find temporary accommodation while we do this and also while trying to make most places in Bintulu flood-free.”

Tiong said contracts had also been awarded to contractors to build and lengthen drains in areas such as Kampung Assyakirin to make the areas flood-free.

On the squatters, he said they would try to accommodate the needs of all communities here; the Malay asked to be located in Kampung Jepak while the Dayaks and Chinese also wanted to be provided with settlements of their own.

“I have recommended to the Land and Survey Department that the houses built for squatters will not be sold within 10 to 15 years or else they would be without any houses again,” he said.