KOTA KINABALU- Families who lost their homes in two fires that broke out within days at the notorious squatter settlements in east coast Kunak and Pulau Gaya here will not be allowed to rebuild their houses.
The more than 300 people whose homes in Kampung Pondo of Pulau Gaya were destroyed in an afternoon fire on Thursday would be given makeshift tents for the time being.
Those from Kampung Pangkalan in Kunak whose homes were razed on June 29 are now being sheltered at the community hall there while waiting for new houses to be completed.
However, all illegal immigrants will be deported.
Kota Kinabalu mayor Datuk Abidin Madingkir said although the fire which destroyed some 30 wooden stilt houses in the water village was an unfortunate incident, the victims were forbidden from rebuilding their houses in the squatter colony.
Abidin said makeshift tents and aid would be distributed to victims who were citizens pending relocation.
Most of the victims were staying with relatives until a solution was sorted out for them, he said.
No casualties were reported in the fire.
Investigations into the cause of the blaze and estimation of the total losses are still continuing.
Meanwhile, Kunak assemblyman Datuk Nilwan Kabang said the victims of the fire at Kampung Pangkalan would also not be allowed to rebuild their houses in the area but they could expect new houses in three months' time.
"A resettlement area at Simpang 4 here for displaced villagers is in the midst of completion.
"So, once everything is settled, hopefully within two or three months, these victims would be relocated there," added Nilwan.
He explained that they could not allow houses to be rebuilt at Kampung Pangkalan as it was a squatter area.
Nilwan said some of the 400 villagers, who were mostly citizens and lived in the 100 wooden homes that were affected, had been housed at the Seri Kunak Hall.
Although the cause of the 1.30am fire is still unknown, it is believed that a short-circuit at one of the wooden stilt houses might have triggered it.
No casualties were reported as well.