KENINGAU April 30, 2012: District officer Amat Mohd Yusof yesterday clarified that the people occupying the six acres of land owned by the District Council are mostly local residents and former members of the Border Scout.
“The area has been turned into a temporary residential area for the local residents who moved from Kampung Permai for the reason that the site of the former Kampung Permai will be developed for a housing project by the owner,”
he told The Borneo Post after witnessing the handing over of financial aid to 1,471 people from Bingkor and Liawan, under the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysian (BR1M) yesterday.
Amat who is also chairman of Keningau District Council, said residents who moved into the area have been temporarily allowed to occupy it until the completion of the housing project currently under construction at Mile 27, Keningau-Tenom road.
Amat was responding to the statement by Keningau State Reform Party (STAR) deputy chairman Dr Nicholas James Guntobon who claimed that an open space meant for family recreation area at the low-cost housing estate had been turned overnight into a settlement for about 1,000 illegal immigrants, after receiving reports and photographic evidence from concerned locals.
He maintained that the area currently occupied by the immigrants is supposed to be an open space which should be used by the residents of the Keningau low-cost housing area for recreation and it should never be turned into a residential area. What more for illegal immigrants.
The locals residing in the low-cost housing and nearby area now live in fear, especially over the safety of their children and their properties, he added.
Amat gave the assurance that after the local population consisting of Muruts, Dusuns and Bajaus move into affordable houses, the District Council in collaboration with other authorities will take immediate action to evict everyone, including illegal immigrants, if any of them are found to continuously occupy the area.
Recently, Keningau Umno divisional head Datuk Haji Sairin Karno described the statement by the STAR in relation to the open space as a settlement for about 1,000 illegal immigrants as a political gimmick.
“Most of those who occupy the area are local people such as Muruts, Chinese, Dusuns and Bajaus from Semporna,” Sairin told The Borneo Post recently.
He also requested STAR, especially Guntobon, to lodge a police report if the 1,000 people occupying the area were illegal immigrants.