IPOH, Aug 27 — Four farmers from Kuala Kuang, Chemor are hoping Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu will intercede and stop a developer from taking their agricultural land for a housing project.
Representing the four, PSM chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj said the farmers — Yap Yew Keen, Wong Seng, Choo Boon Leong, and Wong Ah Koo — have been cultivating vegetables and fruits on the land even before World War Two, but that the previous state Barisan Nasional government parcelled a 22-hectare plot to a private developer in 2007.
He added that they only found out the land had been given away recently, after receiving an eviction letter dated August 2 telling them to shift out by September 1.
“This is really disappointing as no one approached the farmers to discuss the land prior to the eviction notice. The letter also stated that legal action will be taken if they failed to follow the orders,” he told reporters at the State Secretariat Building here, where he had gone to hand a memorandum to the mentri besar.
Dr Jeyakumar said he hoped Ahmad Faizal will make good the Pakatan Harapan government’s promise to maintain the land for small-scale farmers, adding that the farmholding of the four in Kuala Kemang are sized between 1.6 and 3.2 hectares each.
He said PSM’s checks showed the land was granted to a company called Syarikat Bukit Aneka Sdn Bhd for a housing development project.
“About 22 hectares of government owned land in Kuala Kuang was granted to this company. The company is a full subsidiary of Syarikat LTS Properties Sdh Bhd, which is fully owned by TS Law Land Holdings.
“The TS Law Land Holdings is owned by a ‘Datuk’ and ‘Datin’. Basically the land is for them,” he said, questioning the need to take agricultural land for a housing project.
“If the government thinks it is very necessary to have a housing project, then they should consider getting the estate land owned by corporate companies.
“Give them compensation and provide the land for housing projects. Why trouble the farmers who are trying to make ends meet by cultivating vegetables and fruits?” he asked.
Dr Jeyakumar also said the affected farmers had previously tried time and again since the 1980s to apply for a grant that would allow them to use the land for farming purposes, but have been repeatedly rejected.
He said the state land office had not offered the farmers an alternative plot of land to cultivate crops.
The four farmers and their supporters accompanied Dr Jeyakumar to the state secretariat building and held a short and peaceful demonstration.
The memorandum asking the MB to intercede was received by an administrative officer Shaza Mohd Shah.
Ahmad Faizal has previously said that he will help small-scale farmers who have been illegally occupying government land get the proper grants.