IPOH, June 17 — Sixteen small-scale farmers from Kampung Baru Tanah Hitam, Chemor asked the Perak mentri besar for help today after they were notified to vacate the land they have been cultivating for years.

PSM chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, who represented the farmers, said they received the eviction notice dated May 5 from a property company about 10 days ago.

“Previously Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu promised that the state government will help small-scale farmers who are using government land.

“However, despite sending several letters to his office to talk about this matter, we have not managed to get an appointment with him until today,” he told reporters in front of the State Secretariat Building here.

“Now the farmers were told to evict their land within 30 days from the date of the eviction notice,” he added.

Dr Jeyakumar pointed out that the farmers occupying around 0.5 hectares each have already been evicted once from land they had previously cultivated after the plot was transferred to a property firm.

They were then shifted to the current hillside location in 2003

“After they came to Kampung Baru Tanah Hitam, they were given a temporary occupation licence (TOL). They also applied for a grant in the process, but this was not granted,” he said.

“After they cultivated the land for years, they were told to evict again. They have toiled hard to grow oil palm and mango trees for years, how could they shift these trees now,” he questioned.

He also added that the affected farmers have also not been offered any alternative land by the state government.

Dr Jeyakumar then urged the state government to intervene and investigate why the land cultivated by the small-scale farmers was given to companies when they already applied for a grant to the same land.

“We urge the mentri besar to provide a 20 year lease for the land which has been occupied by the farmers and in return the government can impose regulations such as the land should only be used to produce food,” he added.

Earlier, Dr Jeyakumar presented an appeal letter on this matter to the Mentri Besar Office’s executive officer Asad Safwan Mazlan in front of the State Secretariat Building here.