ALOR SETAR, March 13 — The Kedah state government has proposed that the National Security Council (MKN) take over part of 77 hectares of land owned by the Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) in Bukit Malut, Langkawi, to build new housing for residents of an illegal settlement nearby.

In this regard, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor said a coordination meeting had been held between MKN, Langkawi District and Land Office, the State Secretary’s Office (SUK) and those intending to develop the new settlement.

“It has been proposed that about 24 hectares of the LKIM land will be developed for 1,200 new homes to be sold to the squatters in Bukit Malut for a more comfortable and safer living condition.

“This matter is now with MKN, whether to agree that the land be acquired for a fee or simply be taken over due to security factors as the project to resettle this group has been on the drawing board for too long, since the 1980’s.

“This is an MKN project, so they have to solve it. The state government will only facilitate in terms of layout, approval of the development plan and so on,” he told reporters after receiving a visit from participants of the Everest Base Camp (EBC) Climbing Mission at his office in Wisma Darul Aman, here, today.

Earlier, the media (Utusan Malaysia) had reported the frustration of the residents in Bukit Malut over the the state being slow to act in resolving the issue of settlement in the increasingly densely populated area.

In fact, most of the residents there deny that they are illegal immigrants from Myanmar, but instead are Malaysians who deserve due attention as they have been marginalised by the state.

Muhammad Sanusi said MKN might be facing certain obstacles but the state government was ready to facilitate the related matters to enable the residents of Bukit Malut to live in comfort.

“If MKN says ‘okay’ and is ready to develop the new settlement through whatever means including through the Private Finance Initiative, staggered payment or deferred payment, we are willing to help at any time to launch the project.

“We want to resolve this issue as soon as possible because if this is not done during my time (tenure), I fear that in future there may not be any parties interested...I have no interest, I just want the area to be organised so that they can live like everyone else in Langkawi,” he said.

As for the climbing mission, 10 participants including from the Kedah branch of the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) and security forces as well as mute individuals will attempt the ascent scheduled for the end of March. — Bernama