Give us land to build homes, housing minister tells Sarawak

Housing and Local Government Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin.

SIBU: The housing and local government ministry has called on the Sarawak government to allocate suitable land to the ministry to build more affordable houses in the state.

Minister Zuraida Kamaruddin said so far there had been no formal grant of land from the state government to the ministry although the ministry’s officers had identified several suitable sites.

“We are facing a problem as the state government has not given any land to the ministry to build affordable houses.

“All other states have given land for us to develop but this is a problem in Sarawak.

“I hope the state’s executive councillor in charge of housing, as well as Chief Minister (Abang Johari Tun Openg) will respond.

“We want to help build affordable houses for the people in Sarawak,” she said after visiting to Sungai Merah fire and rescue station today.

In another development, Zuraida also said that locations for the building of E Category fire stations were being identified with construction slated to begin next year.

She also said that her ministry would give priority for fire vehicle allocations to fire stations in Sabah and Sarawak, especially in the remote areas.

According to Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman, out of the 50 fire stations needed in Sarawak, 14 were Category E stations, where a few full-time firemen and auxiliary firemen will be stationed.

“This is a win-win move we had to take as the government has limited the recruitment of new firemen in view of the country’s economic situation.”

He said so far 32 fire stations were operating in the state, with four new ones still under construction and expected to be ready by the end of the year.

After visiting the station, Zuraida visited the family of Mohd Sapee Julaihi, 55, a fireman who died during a snake-catching operation in Taman Permai last Friday.

Sapee, a divorcee, is survived by four children, aged between eight and 18. He complained of chest pain and difficulty breathing after the 4am operation.

He was rushed to the hospital for treatment but was confirmed dead at 8am.