TEN locations within Iskandar Puteri City Council’s (MBIP) jurisdiction have been categorised as squatter settlements as of Dec 31, 2022, says mayor Datuk Haffiz Ahmad.
While four are located on government land, the remaining six are on private-owned lots.
“Only four settlements really meet the criteria to be categorised as squatter under the National Land Code and they are located on government land,” he told StarMetro.
The four settlements on river reserve land are Kampung Lorong Aris Batu 8½, Kampung Laut Batu 10 Skudai, Kampung Sepakat Baru and Kampung Muhibbah in Gelang Patah.
The six settlements on private land are Kampung Sungai Perling, Kampung Sungai Perling Baru, Kampung Tuah Jaya, Kampung Teluk Serdang, Kampung Teluk Serdang Pinggiran and Kampung Baru Gelang Patah.
“We do not have a target on squatter eradication in Iskandar Puteri but will work closely with the Johor government to address the issue,” said Haffiz.
He suggested that the affected private landowners work with the relevant land and district offices to settle the squatter problem on their land.
He said that based on MBIP’s observation, residents of the squatter settlements within its jurisdiction were a combination of locals and foreigners.
Challenges faced by the city council, he said, were assisting the locals living in the settlements for many years to relocate to a new place and adapt to new living conditions.
“Together with the state government, we will do our best to move them to new locations not far from their current settlements,” he added.
Haffiz said those relocated would need more time to adjust to their new living environment.
“Most of the residents are moved to either low-cost homes or to a Johor affordable housing scheme (RMMJ),” he said.
The main challenges facing the authorities in addressing the squatter issue in Johor, he said, involved foreign workers as they were not eligible to rent a house under the RMMJ.
He said cooperation with their employers and the Immigration Department was needed to prevent the mushrooming of new squatters or them returning to their previous squatter homes.
Haffiz said addressing the issues of squatters and illegal animal husbandry like the ones taking place along Sungai Skudai, was important to prevent river pollution and contamination.
“They have been identified as a source for discharging domestic waste into the river.”
He said MBIP was looking into river pollution within its jurisdiction although the problem in Iskandar Puteri was not critical.
He added that the local council had erected two rubbish traps along Sungai Skudai while another one was still under construction.
“Our long-term objective is to relocate existing squatter settlements along river banks,’’ said Haffiz.