LABUAN: The ongoing demolition of over 500 illegal structures on Sabah Islamic Religious Council (MUIS) land in Kampung Gersik here has been postponed to Feb 28, 2024.

Labuan Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Suhaili Abdul Rahman said the decision comes in response to the plight of the affected residents by giving them additional time to find alternative housing.

Suhaili said he had contacted MUIS officials on the matter, emphasising the need for empathy and understanding towards the affected individuals.

“I have conveyed the urgency of postponing the demolition to MUIS officials, and they have agreed to extend it until the end of February next year,” he said to Bernama today.

He said on Saturday, nearly a thousand affected individuals gathered at Kg Gersik community hall to meet him and share their difficulties in securing affordable rental housing elsewhere.

“These people will be homeless overnight if the demolition proceeds, as they have no shelter for their families.

“While enforcing the law, it is important to consider the humanitarian aspect too,” he said.

Suhaili said almost 100 per cent of more than 3,000 people residing on the land are Malaysians, many with school-going children.

“These families have occupied the land for the past 30 years, the decision to postpone the demolition reflects a balance between enforcing regulations and considering the humanitarian needs of those affected, providing them with an extended timeframe to find alternative housing solutions,” he said.

He said the demolition postponement applies solely to the houses still occupied, those already vacated are scheduled for demolition next week.

MUIS initiated the demolition process on Nov 23, starting with 45 illegal structures, and scheduled to continue on Monday.

The council had issued a six-month notice to residents on May 22, with an expiration date of Nov 22.

Putera Aliif Al’Ain Jasni, MUIS chief assistant secretary (Investment), said that more than 500 houses were constructed on two plots of MUIS land, measuring 4.946 hectares and 9.025 hectares, respectively. - Bernama

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