13th March, 2013
Muhyiddin (2nd left), flanked by Musa (left) mingles with children at the Cenderawasih multi-purpose hall.
LAHAD DATU: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday announced that the government will extend three types of assistance to the residents affected by Ops Daulat which was launched following the terrorist intrusion in Kampung Tanduo and Tanjung Batu.
The aid are a compassionate cash help of RM1,000 for each family, RM50,000 to rebuild every destroyed house apart from repair of damaged houses as well as rescheduling repayment of loans obtained by traders from Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), Tabung Ekonomi Usahawan Nasional (Tekun Nasional) and Amanah Ikhtiar for the villagers to do business.
The Deputy Prime Minister said for reconstruction of houses, the houseowners concerned could choose to receive the aid directly or consult local leaders for purpose of moving to another location and that the government would implement a people’s housing project for them.
“The government is aware that the ongoing operation by the security forces has affected the livelihood of residents living in the red zone (conflict) area,” he told reporters after visiting the evacuated villagers at the Cenderawasih multi-purpose hall at the Felda Sahabat near here yesterday.
Muhyiddin said they were unable to go out to work and their homes were destroyed or damaged and so, the government has agreed after a meeting with the National Security Council (NSC) to help them.
He said the assistance would only be extended to residents who were Malaysians possessing valid identity cards and birth documents.
The NSC, he added, was conducting a census and distributing forms to the villagers to fill up “so that we can ascertain the number of affected citizens”.
And as for the house reconstruction aid, he said only land owners or those with leasehold land were eligible to apply if their homes were destroyed.
“Squatters are not eligible for the aid,” he said.
Muhyiddin also said for all the assistance, the villagers must obtain verification from their village heads, local leaders or the authorities to ascertain they were affected by Ops Daulat.
The Deputy Prime Minister said the assistance would be extended to those affected as soon as possible.
And, he also urged the villagers to cooperate with the security forces to ensure Ops Daulat could be carried out effectively.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin who is also Education Minister said most of the schools have reopened.
Of the 53 schools in Lahad Datu, only three – SK Lok Buani, SK Fajar Harapan and S K Tanjung Labian- were still closed.
He said the pupils currently staying at the evacuation centres would attend classes in other schools or receive education guidance at the evacuation centres.
“I have directed the state education department to provide buses to send these children to school as well as to provide school books and uniform,” he added.
On allegations that a teacher insulted the security forces in a blog, Muhyiddin said this was regretabble disappointing because all Malaysians appreciated the sacrifices made by the security personnel in safeguarding the sovereignty of the country.
“We should be supporting security forces who are now still involved in the operation to flush out the remaining militants,” he said.
Muhyiddin also said Sabah was safe for tourists as what happened in Lahad Datu did not affect the state as a tourist destination.
“The government wants to assure tourists Sabah is safe and we hope the tourist arrivals will continue to increase,” he added.
And, he also said the setting up of the Eastern Sabah Security Command would ensure the safety of the people, especially those living along the coast.
The Deputy Prime Minister arrived at Felda Sabahat 16 about 11.30am for a security briefing before visiting security personnel at Dewan Desa Kenca and SMK Desa Kenca.
Also present were Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman, Rural and Regional Devleopment Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latif Ahmad, Silam MP Salleh Kalbi, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Ibrahim Omar and armed forces chief General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin.