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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Settlers claim their houses were burnt

DAILY EXPRESS NEWS
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Settlers claim their houses were burnt
21 October, 2006
PITAS: The owners of 20 houses in a forest reserve here have claimed that their homes were razed by an enforcement team from the Sabah Forestry Department early this month after they refused to vacate the Government land that they were occupying.

The department was believed to have issued notices to the residents of Kampung Kaiboton 1, in Jalan Tangkarason, to vacate the land last year but they had refused to budge.

One of the residents, Ping Sun, 49, claimed that burning their houses was an inhumane, cruel and uncivilised act.

"Even refugees are not treated this way and are relocated to comfortable settlements. We are already living in hardship and poverty and yet our houses are burnt," he said.

Ping said some of the 30 families in the village had opened up the land since early 1988 while the others moved there in 1992.

"We plant rubber and fruit trees and now they are bearing fruit. Although we know that the area is part of the Paitan forest reserve, we have to work the land illegally because there's no land for farming," he said.

Another resident, Jaipin Mohigal, 56, said in the incident which occurred at 1pm on Oct 3, he had no time to salvage his property including an antique gong worth RM60,000, 20 sacks of padi, household goods, clothes and important documents.

Yet another resident, known only as Salipat, said his 7ha of rubber trees were destroyed and he hoped the Government would do something to help the residents who are in dire straits. Forestry Department Director, Datuk Sam Mannan, when contacted, refused to comment.- Bernama

Source : Daily Express

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