MIRI: There is an urgency to resettle the more than 2,000 squatters living along riverbanks in Miri as they are in danger of being swept away by floods, said state assemblyman for Pujut, Andy Chia.
We are very worried about the coming months. It has been anticipated that the rain will be heavy this year. There is a great urgency to resettle these riverine squatters before the weather gets bad.
Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr George Chan Hong Nam will be raising this issue to the State Cabinet soon. He is hoping that resettlement lots of land could be allotted to deserving poverty-stricken squatter families so that they can build a proper home.
Past experience has shown that we in Miri have been very successful in resettling squatters to the Tudan Resettlement Scheme through the allocation of temporary occupation land, he said recently after visiting a riverine squatter family living in dire conditions.
Chia, who is Sarawak United Peoples Party vice chairman for Miri, said there were many deserving poor families who needed help from the state because they did not have money to buy low-cost houses.
He visited Laman anak Dagang who is living in a little storeroom-like shack built into Miri River in the squatter area in the Pujut 8 housing estate outside the city.
Laman, in his 40s, has three small children, a mentally-ill wife and a aged sick mother to care for.
Laman is unable to work after suffering an industrial accident at his construction worksite. He fell and injured his head and is suffering from brain damage.
Since he is jobless, he had no choice but to rent a shack along the riverbank. He has been living in the shack for the past two years without electricity and sanitary facilities.
Chia is trying to secure a low-cost flat and welfare aid for Laman.