KOTA KINABALU: More than 20 families, comprising some 180 people in Sandakan, are appealing to the state government to help them own a home following an eviction notice served on them recently.
The families claimed they bought the lands they had been living on for two to three decades. However, they had a rude shock when they were told that the lands were under other people’s names.
They were also asked to move out.
The villagers, from Kg Tinusa 1, Batu 7 in the district, said they were given the eviction notice last year and asked to leave between Dec 27 and early this month.
They held a peaceful demonstration in Sandakan to ask the government for help in resolving the matter on Monday (Jan 7).
One of the village representatives, Samsudin Baco, said decades ago, the villagers had bought plots of land from a villager in the area for between RM2,500 and RM10,000.
“However, after payments were made to the person, we then found out that the lands were already owned by some other people with a country lease (CL),” he said.
He said the CL holder had been requesting that the villagers residing on the land to move out since 1996, but the holder had no court order to demolish the houses there.
Samsudin claimed that the CL holder had, sometime in the year 2000, started forcing the villagers out of their homes.
“During this period, the villagers appointed five lawyers to help us fight this case, but our appeal to stay on the land was rejected by the High Court last year,” he said.
Samsuddin said the villagers now had nowhere to go and did not know how to start afresh.
“What we can hope for is for the new government to help us look into this matter. We have been living here for so long, and we even have the proof of purchase for our plots of lands,” he Samsudin.
Sandakan MP Datuk Stephen Wong, when contacted, said he was the one who had been helping the villagers delay their evacuation since five years ago when he was still the opposition leader.
“I helped until we lost the last appeal to the court last year,” he said.
Wong said it was a complicated matter, and he would think about how to resolve it in the best way possible.