MIRI (Bernama) – The special task force, formed four years ago to tackle the problem of squatters in Sarawak, has begun to show result in reducing the number of squatters in the state.
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said the Sarawak Land and Survey Department’s task force had reduced the squatters who were estimated at 9,900 squatters in 2010 to 7,256 squatters as of this year. “We are quite confident we can achieved zero squatter status by 2020,” he told reporters after opening the one-day seminar on integrity for enforcement officers for the state’s civil servants yesterday.
Adenan said efforts to eradicate the problem in Sarawak would be ongoing and financial allocation had been set aside in the coming state budget to be tabled at State Legislative Assembly sitting scheduled next month.
“We have a budget for it,” he said adding that the toughest problem currently faced by the state goverment was the mushrooming of new squatter settlements.
However, he said such woes were still manageable in the state as the enforcement authorities had been directed to be on full alert.
He said among the long term strategies to address these problems were the resettlement of squatter families and construction of more low-cost housing schemes.
He also reiterated the state goverment’s new policy on the timber industry that aimed to stop smuggling and illegal felling of trees. “We will gazette more national parks in Sarawak in line with our target of having one million hectares of forest in Sarawak,” he said.a