Move out before March, squatters told

Tiong King Sing

KUCHING: Squatters living along Sibiew River in Bintulu are told to relocatebefore March to make way for river dredging works.

Bintulu MP Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing said failure to do so would result in the authorities resorting to enforcement measures such as cutting off the water and electricity supply to the squatter area.

“This is to make way for the appointed contractors to commence river dredging works at the Sibiew River latest by May this year,” he said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Earlier, Tiong who is Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) president attended a dialogue with local leaders on resolving issues arising from the squatters along the river.

The river dredging work would resolve long-standing flood woes affecting local dwellers in the area.

“It is important to take into account the long term benefits of the project to address the flash flood problem which affect low-lying areas in the Bintulu district,” he said.

He also hoped that grassroots leaders would disseminate accurate information so that the people involved could understand the need for resettlement in order to avoid unnecessary issues.

Tiong noted that some irresponsible parties tended to politicise the issue of resettlement and spread rumours on social media.

The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the People’s Republic of China said all parties involved were doing their best to help the people in the squatter area to relocate.

“In fact, a dialogue between the residents and relevant government agencies such as the Land and Survey Department, Bintulu Development Authority (BDA), Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) including local community leaders was held recently.”

He added that although the government did not provide compensation or resettlement costs, the relevant parties had conducted a land survey to find a solution by trying to provide a suitable lot for the 374 families involved.

Therefore, he hoped that the squatters would cooperate to ensure that the dredging and widening work of Sungai Sebiew could be implemented smoothly.