The future of 531 families staying in the oldest low-cost housing flats here is not assured despite the state vesting the land in the care of the Kuching South Municipal Council (MBKS).
Padungan DAP assemblyman Wong King Wei said families staying on the 14-acre land in the city’s Golden Triangle still risked being evicted in the future as ownership of the land remained in a technical limbo.
He said the current state government’s guarantee for the residents to stay on may not preclude future city development.
“This is the worrying part. This land is a legacy left behind by the British government for the poor here.
“We want the state government to renew into perpetuity the land and preserve it for welfare purposes.
“That is the only way to ensure the land would be preserved not only for the benefit of this generation but for generations to come,” Wong told reporters at the Sarawak assembly today.
He had earlier charged that private developers had shown interest in the area.
Yesterday, state Resource Planning and Environment Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hasan told the house the land would be vested with the MBKS to be rented to the existing tenants for the time being.
“Any decision on whether or not the land (ownership) would be renewed does not have any impact on the current KMC tenants.
“The government will ensure the welfare of the residents of the flats will always be given attention,” Awang Tengah said.
Kuching South Mayor James Chan had stated much earlier that the council had applied to renew the land leases in 2010 but the applications had not been approved. Chan denied any wrongdoing.
The land was alienated by the colonial government to the municipal council in 1957.
Currently, there are 22 blocks of flats and other residential buildings containing 531 housing units meant for the urban poor. The area is now known as the Kuching Municipal Council (KMC) Flats.
The housing units are let out to low-income families at a monthly rent of RM110 for a flat and RM179 for a terrace house.
Source : Richard T.W.@FMT Reporters Online