KOTA KINABALU: The Semporna Municipal Council faced threats from the water villages under its jurisdiction, including Kampung Sri Jaya where six police officers were killed during the incursion by Sulu militants in March.
“We faced criminal threats,” Semporna municipal council assistant executive officer Mustapha Elias Sulai told the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on immigrants today.
Mustapha said that as of 2010, there were 33,983 people living in 18 such water villages.
Slightly more than half of the population, he said, comprised foreigners from the Philippines, while a number of them were from Indonesia.
The water villagesare made up of wooden houses built on stilts over water and the authorities have very little presence or control there.
Police entered Kampung Sri Jaya and Kampung Siminul during the beginning of the Sulu incursion, which was launched from the Philippines, and were ambushed, resulting in the death of six of their men.
Mustapha admitted that the local authorities had not taken any step to demolish the water villages but added that in light of the massacre, there were now plans to relocate the villages.
“They villages are also an eyesore and there are issues of diseases,” he said.
Also taking the stand was 48-year-old Said Daud, a Bajau who possessed IMM13, a document for refugees from the Philippines.
‘We’re angry about Sulu incursion’
Said who is a village chief in Kiam Sam, Labuan said a majority of his village comprised of Bajau and Sulu immigrants.
Asked about sentiments about the Sulu in his village, in relation to the recent incursion, Said, who came to Sabah from the Philippines in 1980, said his people were angry about it.
“We in Labuan do not support the incursion, we are angry with them.
“We have lived a good life here for a long time, our children go to school and some are even working for the government.
“We live a good life because of the Malaysian government, we will not support them (intruders),” he said.
A total of nine witnesses took the stand at the fifth RCI hearing in Kota Kinabalu today. So far 116 witnesses have testified since the hearing commenced in January. (BI)