No man’s land: Houses – some complete and under construction – built on Fisheries Dept land in Menggatal near Kota Kinbalu.
KOTA KINABALU: Dozens of families who have built homes on a 120ha of land thinking it was a village reserve are now facing eviction.
The land, some 15km from the city, belongs to the state Fisheries Department.
More than 70 houses – some measuring up to 370sq m – have been built in the area since 2001, occupying some 20ha.
Another 12ha has also been reclaimed to build more dwellings.
During a visit yesterday, department officials showed deputy chief minister Datuk Yahya Hussin a map depicting that the land area had been divided into 438 housing lots.
He was also shown a copy of a “certificate” purportedly claiming that the land was part of a “bumiputra kampung”.
“All this is wrong. The houses were built there without approval. This land was meant for the department to conduct aquaculture research,” said Yahya.
Department officials, he said, had lodged several police reports over the illegal occupation of the land.
Yahya said the department would issue notices to house owners that they were illegally occupying the land.
“We are giving them time to relocate,” he said, adding that the department would be carrying out a survey of the area.
The Federal Government had also provided funds for the area to be fenced up, added Yahya.