IPOH, Oct 21 — A group of 30 farmers from three different locations in Chemor urged Perak mentri besar to help small-scale farmers as promised after they were told to evict the land which they have been cultivating since the time of their forefathers.
PSM chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, who represents the farmers, said that the affected farmers are from Tanah Hitam I, Tanah Hitam II and Kuala Kuang.
“The farmers have been cultivating in the land for more than 50 years and it is their main and only source of income. Evicting the land without having an alternative place to go will affect their livelihood,” he told reporters.
Dr Jeyakumar also said that he previously helped the farmers to send memorandums to the Perak government on the issue on three different occasions.
He said the Tanah Hitam II farmers, whose land was awarded to the Perak football team as a reward for their Malaysia Cup victory last year, had sent their appeal letter on July 25 while Kuala Kuang farmers, who face eviction after the land was given to a company, had sent their appeal letter on August 27 to Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
Meanwhile, the Tanah Hitam I farmers, who were previously evicted in 2001 and given an alternative land near the hillside of their previous location, now face another eviction after the current land which they occupy was given to a property company.
He said that the farmers had sent an appeal letter to the state government two years ago.
“There were media reports saying that mentri besar is willing to help the farmers and the land issue can be solved after the memorandums were sent to his office.
“However, until today, nothing happens. The farmers still facing the eviction and they have not been contacted by the mentri besar’s office nor Kinta Land Office for a meeting,” he added.
Ahmad Faizal had repeatedly said that he will help small-scale farmers who are using government land under the special committee set up earlier this year to resolve the problem of squatters and the illegal occupation of government land.
Dr Jeyakumar also pointed out that the matter not only affects the farmer’s livelihood but also the food security in Perak.
“If we continue to chase out small-scale farmers, there would be less supply of vegetables and we have to be dependent on neighbouring countries like Thailand in the future.
“And if they have shortage there, the price will increase and we as a consumer will face problems with the cost of living is already high,” he explained.
He also urged the mentri besar to meet the farmers and provide them an alternative land to cultivate in order to solve the matter once for all.
Earlier, Dr Jeyakumar together with the farmers again sent another memorandum to mentri besar fulfil his promises and intercede in the matter. The memorandum was received by an administrative officer Shaza Mohd Shah.