SANDAKAN, (Jan 13) — The Eastern Sabah Security Command (ESSCom) will launch a census in five water villages here for three days early next month.
Its director-general, Datuk Mohammad Mentek said the census operation would be assisted by several government agencies, including the Statistics Department, Immigration Department and Sandakan Municipal Council (MPS), involving 160 enumerators.
However, he said residents in the five villages need not be afraid or be worried as the census operation would not involve arresting illegal immigrants.
“The main objective of the census operation is to obtain complete and accurate information, including data on the number of villages, residents and families, as well as the demographic characteristics of citizens and non-citizens.
“We will also collect data on the residents’ backgrounds and socio-economic status. This will help us, and the government, to formulate the best development plan for them, including resettlement,” he said in a statement after chairing the Sandakan Water Village Resettlement Coordination Committee meeting here today.
Also present were Elopura assemblyman Au Kam Wah, ESSCom defence director Maj Gen Datuk Masrani Paiman, security and public order director Datuk Abdul Rashid Harun and defence intelligence director Maj Gen Datuk Mohd Noor Osman.
Mohammad said the meeting agreed that the census operation would focus on the five squatters’ settlements or the water villages, namely Mangkalinau Laut and Mangkalinau Darat, Cahaya Baru Batu 3, Muhibbah Batu 2, Kampung Forest and Good View, due to various factors, mostly concerning security.
He said according to the MPS’s census in 2010, it was estimated that there were almost 4,000 houses in the five water villages.
As such, he said ESSCom was planning to hold a meeting with the community leaders and heads of the villages involved on Jan 22.
“I hope residents there will give their full cooperation to ESSCom, especially the enumerators, to ensure success of the government’s effort to put the people first, particularly in the aspects of security,” he added.Sandakan is one of the three districts in the Eastern Sabah Security Zone (ESSZone) selected as pioneers of the census operation.The other two districts were Semporna and Lahad Datu.– BERNAMA