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Sunday, March 29, 2009


Rush to address Bkt Gantang squatters’ land issue

TAIPING, March 29 – reproted by malaysianinsider– Bernama

Efforts are being made to solve the land issue faced by residents who, for a very long time, have illegally settled on Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) land in Kuala Sepetang, near here.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said most of the squatters were fishermen who had stayed on the land which was laid with a railway track connecting Port Weld (now Kuala Sepetang) with Taiping.

“It’s an old problem. There’s a lot of such land used for the railway line but now still occupied by people, mostly families of fishermen. After such a long time, they want to know the status of the land.

“I have instructed KTMB and the Railway Asset Management Corporation to carry out a census to find out the number of households occupying KTMB land there and we will try to solve the problem,” he said after a closed-door dialogue with the Chinese community in Bukit Gantang, here, today.

Also present was new Umno deputy president and International Trade and Industry Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Ong, who is also MCA president, said he had gone to Kuala Sepetang to look at the problem, besides holding a dialogue with the community leaders there on solving it.

He said among the solutions was to grant the squatters a temporary occupation licence (TOL) but this must be carefully studied and approved by the land owner (KTMB).

The suitability of the area like its sewage system must also be taken into consideration before a final decision could be made, he added.

“I hope we can find a solution to the problem in the next few days.”

Ong revealed that the local community leaders also voiced the concern of transport operators in the area over the weight of their lorry loads for fear of action by the authorities.

With regard to this, he urged the Road Transport Department director-general and Puspakom officials to discuss with the transport companies to resolve the issue, like what had been done in Sabah, Johor and Kedah recently.

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