It’s ironic that the squatters staying along Jalan CMS is adjacent to one of the richest company in the state, the CMS which is divided by a cement wall.
Some of the 100 over family members had been there for the past 30 to 40 years in such bleak situation that it makes one wonder that in a rich state like Sarawak, there are still below poverty families staying within the city.
I have been receiving calls the last week from residents in the area appealing for help. The 60 meter road from their squatters were at times covered with flooding during high tide stranding them in their homes.
The concerned parents have to carry their children numbering over 10 school going across the flooded roads for them so as not to miss schools. At times, due to the flood, families who were out of their houses have to wait until almost midnight for the water to subside.
A resident complained that for the past two years, two tongkangs had been ferrying along Sg. Apong which is behind their homes causing soil erosion. There were some dredging going on at times causing the 60 meter long road to collapse and sink.
The house owners although poor tried to help themselves by buying a few lorries of stones to make the road higher. But it did not help much when there is King tide. A resident said they would be cut of at certain time of the night and day at least once or twice a month.
Another resident said if help did not come on time, the whole road would collapse next month making it inaccessible for them.
I went to the site twice to assess the situation and had called for a press conference there. I wanted the media to see for themselves the dilapidated houses the residents there owned and the appalling condition they were forced to live. And the road has been an additional headache to their problems.
I will write to the relevant authority for some form of help. Today, I hope that the voluntarily association and NGO like Rotary Club, Lion’s club or corporate bodies would come out to extend their help to the residents.
The most pressing need is a proper road for the residents. As school is about to open soon, the children should be able to go to school without worrying about high tide.
The Chief Minister had recently said he would help resettle squatters to solve the squatter problems in the State. I agreed that the 20 odd families should be resettled as they are living from hand to mouth and could hardly afford to buy a house. I hope the CM would mean business this time by making sure the squatters are resettled. All are waiting for the next course of action from the CM.