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Chased out first by police, now Mara

Families of former Sabah "Border Scouts" were shocked
when MARA officers said they were told by Sabah Land
and Survey Department to have a look at 10 acres of
their 45 acre settlement.
By Luke Rintod of FMT
KENINGAU : Days after families of former Sabah “Border Scouts” or “polis pengakap sempadan” aired their worries of being chased out from their settlement a second time by their own former employer, the PDRM or Royal Police of Malaysia, another federal agency has taken an interest to take over part of their 45 acres here.

Families of those aged and some ill former warriors of Sabah’s border were taken aback when a group of officers claiming to be from MARA or Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM) came to their settlement and took pictures of the areas last week.

When they asked for their motives, the MARA officers said they were told by Sabah Land and Survey Department to have a look at 10 acres of the 45 acres of the ‘border scouts” settlement.

According to Saidi Jaimin, the protem president of Persatuan Bekas Anggota Polis Pengakap Sempadan Sabah (PPPSS), the incident has saddened him and many families of the mostly Murut former border scout, which when introduced by the British was a unit under their military but was later absorbed by Malaysia under its police force.

“We held another meeting at our Border Scout settlement today and we would like to appeal to the Chief Minister, Musa Aman, to consider looking at our rights being taken away by the authorities, even now when our members are old and sick,” Saidi said in a statement from Keningau.

“Border scouts once served to defend this country, and many of our members are now old and sick.

“If we could sacrifice for the whole of Sabah, why can’t the state now allow us to have a mere 45 acres to be our permanent settlement,” Saidi lamented.

According to Saidi, years ago a piece of 18 acres of land in Keningau was approved under the name of “border scout” for them settle in, but that land was eventually requested and taken over by the PDRM to build flats for regular policemen.

“We were forced to leave our wooden houses at our old settlement which we built using our own little money then, and PDRM promised us a new settlement of 45 acres, an area which formerly known as “Kem Pasukan Polis Hutan (PPH)” where we settled into the old PPH quarters and still are today. That was about 15 years ago.

“Now there is movements by the PDRM to take over the area again. And last Wednesday, a group of officers from another federal agency, MRSM (Maktab Rendah Sains MARA), came to our place in two vehicles, taking pictures on areas inside the 45 acres.

“When we asked them of their motives, these officers told us they were told by Sabah Land and Survey Department to have a look at a 10 acres within our settlement to build a MRSM college,” said Saidi adding that the ex-border scouts and their families felt betrayed and insisted they would defend their settlement from being taken again by a federal agency.

“We will not budge this time. In those years during the Confrontation (with Indonesia) period (1962 – 1966), borders scouts had fought with enemies at the borders defending our country. I myself  was involved in Kalabakan skirmishes in 1966 and then later sent for three months in 1969 to Kuala Lumpur to help keep the country intact during the bloody Peristiwa 13 Mei. Please consider our sacrifices,” said Saidi.

Days ago Saidi had also pleaded to Prime Minister Najib Razak to look into their plight, calling on the premier to come and rescue them from being further forgotten and discarded from the history of this beloved nation.

“I am making this appeal now because our members are worried of being chased out from the 45-acre of settlement land under a land title being held by the PDRM or police,” he had then said pointing out that PDRM had once again put signs the land belong to PDRM and had fenced up the whole areas.

“Little did we know that there seem to be a second forced eviction for us. Our members are now ageing and ill. We have just lost another two ex-border scouts recently and we cannot afford to let our members who were warriors during their hey-days to live in constant worry that their family would end up house-less and land-less in their own country that they once have fought for with their own life,” he had added.

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