LANGKAWI: Residents of Bukit Malut, believed to be Myanmar-Malays who settled there generations ago, will be relocated within the next five years by the Kedah government.
Kuah assemblyman Mohd Firdaus Ahmad said discussions were ongoing with various agencies to work out a plan as it involved a large group.
“We are discussing with agencies led by the National Security Council (NSC) and Langkawi Municipal Council (MPLBP).
“The concept will not be to prepare houses for them but rather to get the residents to rent or buy on their own.
“Many residents there want property of their own and understand that their settlement in Bukit Malut is illegal.
“We are hoping to get the issue resolved within five years to avoid it being politicised as efforts have all the while been ongoing, ” he said yesterday.
Mohd Firdaus added that in their last check, authorities counted about 1,400 houses there.
“We have not decided on where the residents will be relocated, but we are hoping to get them to assimilate into local society instead of living among their own community.
“The majority of them are fishermen, some even have trawlers, but many are working in various sectors.
“With the relocation, social problems would not only be solved but we can also get them to contribute to society, ” he said.
The people of Bukit Malut are said to be descendants of seafaring Myanmar Malays who sailed to Langkawi and settled here many generations ago.
Last month, The Star reported that the land in Bukit Malut had been earmarked for a racing circuit, luxury resorts and other state-of-the-art amenities, adding to Langkawi’s already popular attractions of scenic beaches and duty-free shopping.
Langkawi Tourism Industry Organisation president Ahmad Phisol Ishak said the development on 30ha of coastal land in Bukit Malut would benefit the people of Langkawi because it would boost the economy of the island.
Besides a RM1.3bil international racing circuit project, plush resorts, condominiums and villas, there will also be high-tech garage facilities where supercar owners, who buy their cars duty-free in Langkawi, can safely park until their next visit to the island.
There are also plans to obtain a Grade Two certification for the hill circuit from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) so that FIA International Formula and Formula E events can be held there.
Mentri Besar Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said the plan was to turn Langkawi into the “Nurburgring of the East”, referring to the German Grand Prix racing circuit.