Friday, January 18, 2008


Owner of demolished house seeks explanation
Chong disappointed house torn down for river expansion in Telipok
Chong Yun Shin had never expected his house where he brought up his three children to be demolished yesterday.
And the worst part was that he did not even have the chance to see it being torn down.
"They (contractors) demolished my house without waiting for me. I wanted to show them documents to support my rights ... this is my land and I have proof. In fact, there is a case still pending in court to back me," said the 47-year-old from Kampung Sukuli, about three kilometres from Telipok town.
Yesterday, the houses belonging to Chong and his brother-in-law, Lajumin Ladas, were dismantled by the local authorities due to the river expansion to overcome floods in the Telipok area.
Chong claimed that notice of evacuation was issued to them on December 29 last year, and he
reacted fast by writing letters to the relevant authorities to explain the situation.
"This case is being appealed in court and we are still waiting for a decision. I have followed every procedure and have been a law-abiding citizen, but unfortunately I am not treated well. I am very disappointed with what has happened and demand an explanation from the Government," said Chong.
He admitted that the whole family moved to a new place to be closer to their children's school here but would, once in a while, return to the house which he described as a `kampung home', for a break from the busy city life.
"I love this place, it is so peaceful. My children grew up here and my wife's family members are so close by. I do not understand why they have to tear down our houses without even checking with us. What happened to all the letters I sent? No one replied so how do they expect me to react?" he asked in full desperation.
Chong said he had even contacted the Tuaran District Officer (DO) to demand an explanation but instead the latter had asked him to engage a lawyer if he is not satisfied. "Maybe I will do that and bring this matter to court. I do not think the DO can overrule the court's decision. Those who came to tear down my house told us that we were paid compensation but I never received anything from the Government. Show us proof to say that we have received the money ... if money has been paid, where has it gone to?" he asked.
Apart from demolishing their houses, the contractor, which is believed engaged by the Drainage and Irrigation Department, also disconnected the water and electricity supply to the house of Chong's sister- in-law, Ombotoi Turik.
"There are 11 people staying in my house, the youngest is my 20-month old grandson. How are we going to survive without electricity and water," said Ombotoi, who begged for a week to vacate the house, which was also scheduled to be demolished the same day.
The 58-year-old grandmother claimed that they were promised to be relocated and given a house at Bukit Payung, but to date, there has been no news on the offer.
"There is no compensation and no news whether we will be getting the house. Now, we are left with no water and electricity ... we are already suffering and this is adding to our problem," she stressed.
Asked on their next cause of action, Chong would be lodging a police report and hope the relevant authorities would provide him with the explanation.