Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Muhyiddin announces three types of aid for villagers affected by Lahad Datu intrusion

    LAHAD DATU, March 12 — The government today announced three types of assistance for villagers affected by “Ops Daulat” following the terrorist intrusion incident in Kampung Tanduo and Tanjung Batu, here.
    Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the aid were compassionate assistance of RM1,000 for each family, reconstruction cost of destroyed houses at RM50,000 each house besides cost of minor repairs of damaged houses as well as the rescheduling of repayment of loans taken by traders under Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), Entrepreneurial Group Economic Fund (Tekun) and Amanah Ikhtiar.
    For the reconstruction of houses, Muhyiddin said residents could choose to receive the aid directly or they jointly move in a group by consulting local leaders to another location and that the government would build a people’s housing project for them.
    “The government is aware “Ops Daulat” has affected the livelihood of residents living in the Red Zone (conflict) area.
    “As a result, they cannot go out to work and their houses were destroyed or damaged in “Ops Daulat”, so the government has agreed, after a meeting with the National Security Council (NSC), to assist them,” he told reporters at Dewan Serbaguna Cederawasih, Felda Sahabat here.
    Muhyiddin said all assistance would only be disbursed to residents who are citizens holding identity cards and valid birth documents.
    “The NSC is conducting a census and is distributing forms to the residents to be filled so that we can ascertain the actual number of citizens affected,” he said.
    He said only land owners and those with leasehol land were eligible to apply for house reconstruction assistance if their houses were destroyed.
    “However squatters are not eligible for such assistance,” he said.
    He said for all assistance, the residents need to get the verification of village heads, local leaders and the authorities to ascertain them as victims of “Ops Daulat”.
    Muhyiddin said the aid would be implemented as soon as possible and would be managed by the NSC.
    He also requested local residents to cooperate closely with the security forces to ensure the smooth operation of “Ops Daulat”.
    Muhyiddin, who is also the Education Minister, said a survey carried out found many schools, which closely temporarily because of “Ops Daulat”, had already restarted classes.
    Out of 53 schools in Lahad Datu, only three schools remain closed namely Sekolah Kebangsaan Lok Buani, Sekolah Kebangsaan Fajar Harapan and Sekolah Kebangsaan Tanjung Labian.
    He said students who are now at evacuation centres will be relocated to other schools in Felda Sahabat or receive education guidance at the evacuation centres.
    “I have directed the state education department to provide buses for transportation as well as school book assistance and school uniform,” he said.
    Commenting on allegations that a teacher insulted security forces in a blog, Muhyiddin said the matter was regrettable as all citizens fully supported the sacrifice of the security forces in protecting the nation’s sovereignty.
    Also present were Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad, Silam MP Salleh Kalbi and Chief of Armed Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.
    Earlier, in his one-day working visit to Lahad Datu. Muhyiddin was briefed on the security situation in the area and visited an evacuation centre located at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Desa Kencana.
    Muhyiddin also visited a temporary evacuation centre at Cenderawasih’s multi-purpose hall before leaving for Tawau. — BERNAMA

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