KOTA KINABALU: A proposed relocation of those living at water villages in Sabah’s east coast is gaining momentum with authorities now focusing their attention on the Semporna and Sandakan districts.
Those living at a number of water villages in both districts would likely be resettled as part of measures to improve security in the state’s east coast.
Sabah State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman chaired the first meeting of the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZONE) Resettlement Committee for 2015 at the Wisma Innoprise, near here, on Monday.
The meeting was attended by Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCOM) chief executive officer Ruji Ubi and permanent members of the committee.
On Dec 10, last year, ESSZONE Committe meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Aman, decided to form ESSZONE Resettlement Committee to continue to exercise the function of the Working Committee (established before the restructuring of ESSCOM), aimed at addressing and expediting resettlement of water village residents in ESSZONE.
On renaming the previous Working Committee to the ESSZONE Resettlement Committee, Ruji said the renamed committee was vital in realising the government’s vision to relocate residents of water villages in ESSZONE as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in Parliment last year.
Among the main topics discussed by members of the committee were the progress report or update on the Ministry of Urban Wellbeing Housing and Local Government’s housing projects (PPR) at Bubul Lama, Semporna, and the report on the proposed acquisition of 900 housing units, Off Jalan Bomba earmarked for resettlement of residents of four water villages in Sandakan.
The meeting also discussed the issue of acquring budget to purchase affordable houses through housing projects undertaken by Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad, Municipal council and private sector.
Before this, ESSCOM had launched census operations in nine villages at Mukim Simunul, Semporna and four water villages namely kg Forest (including kg Goodview), Muhibbah, Cahaya Baru and Mangkalinau in Sandakan.
Ruji said the purpose of the census was to obtain information on the security aspect and demography of the water villages to facilitate the relocation process of the residents.
“We are also obtaining the socio-economic background information of the people to plan the relocation of the affected residents to new areas,” he said.
According to the Executive Orders issued following the recent restructuring of ESSCOM, its public component, headed by chief executive officer,is responsible or tasked to oversee the implementation of the various programmes for ESSZONE, including the proposed resettlement of water village residents.
Meanwhile, head of ESSCOM Socio-Economic Section Wan Mohd Khalid Wan Kamal has been appointed as the new ESSCOM director of Public Action, taking over from Mohamad Yusri Hashim, who has been appointed as Kedah Immigration Department director.