KUALA LUMPUR, June 24 (Bernama) — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said a specific study must be carried out before any transfer of foreign nationals occupying illegally the Bukit Malut area, Langkawi could be implemented.
The Prime Minister said this was because all costs involved in their transfer must be borne by the government.
Dr Mahathir, who is also the Member of Parliament for Langkawi, said it was not a simple matter as it involved the settlement of foreign nationals, thus we have to take into account the sensitivity of the local residents.
“Previously we have moved them once, we built houses for them, the people of Langkawi said the foreigners received houses, but we received nothing, so we have to take this into consideration,”he told reporters when met after delivering the keynote address at the Asian Oil and Gas Conference 2019, here today.
A daily newspaper reported that the coastal area of Bukit Malut was estimated to have more than 800 houses occupied by between 5,000 and 8,000 people permanently.
The newspaper likened the area to the squatter areas in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Mexico City, Mexico which reported that crimes and drug cases were frequently reported.
Commenting on the statement by Inspector-General of Police, Datuk Seri Abdul Hamid Bador who was reported to have said that the resort island ran the risk of becoming a drug 'factory’due to the uncontrolled dumping of drugs, Dr Mahathir said this was difficult to control because it was an island and had many entry points.
“The island is so big, there is a possibility that the drugs could enter not via the normal gate but anywhere at all. This calls for a big military force to look after the beaches in Langkawi,”he said.