KOTA KINABALU: A census of illegally constructed houses along Sg. Pampang in Keningau district will be taken before demolition begins, said District Officer Yusop Osman.
He said Malaysian squatters living along the river would be relocated to various housing schemes.
This follows an incident on Sunday (Dec 17) where two houses were washed away and dozens were damaged as raging water eroded its banks after a heavy deluge.
In a related development, Sabah Chief Conservator of Forests Datuk Sam Mannan said the Sungai Pampang surge was reminiscent of what occurred along the river in 1996.
Mannan added that the riverbank was a riparian reserve and was unsuitable for human occupation.
He said that while Sg. Pampang is a creek under normal conditions, its flow increases when the Crocker Range receives incessant rain.
“Excess water has to be dispersed somehow, and it is dispersed by flowing into various rivers including Sg. Pampang,” he said.
Mannan dismissed claims that the flooding was due to logging at the catchment area along the Crocker Range.
"The Crocker Range is still pristine. There is no logging there."
He said that the allegations made on social media were made those who were completely ignorant of what was going on, on the ground.
Sabah DAP leaders had alleged that the incident of the houses being washed away is due to logging.
“The excess flow from surface runoff is a natural phenomenon – but building houses inside or beside a river is not. It is asking for death and disaster,” said Mannan.