Batu Sapi villagers still living in containers waiting for promised housing

Batu Sapi villagers still living in containers waiting for promised housing

Villagers say construction of PPRT homes, supposed to begin in Feb, has yet to start

SANDAKAN – The fate of over 200 families from Kg Gas, Batu Sapi here who were placed in container homes in 2018 remains uncertain to date. The villagers who have been living in the container homes, now dubbed Kg Container, claimed that government officials had earlier this year met with and told them that a total of 56 Program Perumahan Rakyat Termiskin (PPRT) houses will be built on the same site in Kg Gas for them starting February this year.

They were made to understand that priority will be given to the 12 families who are still staying at the container homes, while the rest will be decided through a random draw.

However, villagers here told The Vibes that the construction of PPRT homes, which was supposed to begin in February, has not started to date.

“They (the authority) have not even started bringing in electricity or water supply yet; that is supposed to be the first step before they start constructing the houses,” one of the villagers said.

Over 200 families were placed in container homes after their houses in Kg Gas were razed by fire in July 2018. They were then given various promises by politicians from one election to another, but the problem was still not solved.

Only 12 families are staying at Kg Container now, while the rest have moved to relatives’ houses as they could not stand the terrible living conditions inside the containers – water would leak inside during the rain and it gets extremely hot in the afternoon.

Even the Sandakan Health Department last year declared that the place was not fit to be occupied by people as it was unsanitary and posed a risk of spreading infectious diseases, including dengue and Covid-19.

According to Sekong assemblyman Alias Sani, the container homes were supposed to be a temporary measure in 2018, used to place victims of natural disasters and fires, like a temporary shelter.

“But somehow, and there was a change of government and elections; the matter has gone out of hand and the victims ended up staying there because they had no place to go,” he told The Vibes.

Alias said that knowing that the construction of the promised PPRT houses has not started, he will raise the matter at the next state assembly sitting this month.

– The Vibes, May 6, 2023

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