Pujut rep asks Sarawak govt to build low-cost housing for squatters instead of relocating to resettlement schemes

Yii debating the Governor's address in the DUN sitting today (May 23, 2022). Screenshot taken from a Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas) livestream.

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By Lian Cheng

KUCHING, May 23: Pujut assemblyman Adam Yii (GPS-SUPP) calls on the Sarawak government to build low-cost housing for 690 squatters in Miri instead of relocating them to resettlement schemes which will place a greater financial burden on the latter.

He said Miri has one of the biggest squatter populations in Sarawak as Miri is an oil and gas hub which provides plenty of job opportunities.

Over the years, the Sarawak government has made multiple attempts to resettle the squatters but continuous rural-urban migration means 690 households now needed to be resettled. Yii however pointed out that allocating land for squatters through resettlement schemes is not ideal due to financial constraints.

“These squatters have to rebuild their houses using recycled materials from the old house, and the new house is generally not provided with proper infrastructure like road access, electricity and water.

“This arrangement does not improve their living conditions. The relocation has in fact added financial burden to them.

“Therefore, I suggest that the authorities should look into building low-cost housing for them instead, so that the living conditions will be better for them, so that the children will have proper lighting for their studies at night, so that there is proper sanitation and so on,” said Yii.

Apart from the squatter issue, Yii also revealed the promises he made during the 2021 Sarawak Election which included establishing a senior citizens’ centre to cater to the needs of the elderly, a youth activity center to cater to the need of the youth, resettling the squatters along the bank of Sungai Baong, developing a waterfront park along Sungai Baong, developing a waterfront park at Piasau Old Bridge as well as improving and upgrading Miri’s drainage system.

On the drainage system, he explained that Miri in recent times has experienced frequent flash floods.

Bearing in mind the increasingly frequent heavy rain due to the climate change, and new developments have resulted in additional volume in surface runoffs, the aging drains at early housing development areas like Krokop, Piasau Jaya, Piasau Link and Pujut are no longer adequate and need to be upgraded or rebuilt.

Moreover, there are still many earth drains at Piasau Utara and Pujut Corner that need to be upgraded to concrete drains, Yii said.

“Miri City Council is working closely with DID (Irrigation and Drainage Department) and JKR (Public Works Department) to improve the overall drainage system and the discharging points,” said Yii when debating the Governor’s address at the Sarawak Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting here today.

On the overall development of Greater Miri, he said the construction of road access to Mulu and Limbang have to be sped up.

“The importance of direct road access from Miri to Limbang without crossing Brunei territory has been woefully apparent during this present Covid-19 pandemic where road access from Miri to Limbang and Lawas was cut off due to the closure of the Brunei border.

“Limbang and Lawas have only been accessible by air in the past two years,” he lamented. — DayakDaily