Farmers from Sungai Siput, Hulu Kinta urge Perak MB to amend by-laws to safeguard small-scale farmers’ interest

PSM chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj speaks to reporters on the land issues faced by small-scale farmers in Perak in front of the State Secretariat Building in Ipoh July 15, 2020. ― Pictures by Farhan Najib
PSM chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj speaks to reporters on the land issues faced by small-scale farmers in Perak in front of the State Secretariat Building in Ipoh July 15, 2020. ― Pictures by Farhan Najib

IPOH, July 15 — The Sungai Siput-Hulu Kinta farmers coalition today urged Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu to incorporate the policy of granting amnesty to small-scale farmers, who cultivating in the state land illegally, in the state land regulations by-laws.

The coalition’s adviser, Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj said that this is because the policy mentioned by mentri besar is only a verbal statement and not stated in the law.

“The mentri besar had said that he will help the small-scale farmers by providing an alternative land and will not chase them out.

“But this is only mere talking and it is not in the law. The law is what gives the power to the Land Office to grant an alternative land for the farmers,” he told a press conference in front of the State Secretariat Building here.

The Socialist Party of Malaysia chairman pointed out that the National Land Code stated that the mentri besar has the power to amend the state land regulations.

“If the mentri besar’s intention is to really help the farmers then he have to amend the by-laws,” he added.

PSM chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj together with representatives from the Sungai Siput-Hulu Kinta farmers coalition presented a memorandum on land issues to the mentri besar’s office in Ipoh July 15, 2020.
PSM chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj together with representatives from the Sungai Siput-Hulu Kinta farmers coalition presented a memorandum on land issues to the mentri besar’s office in Ipoh July 15, 2020.

On June 30, Ahmad Faizal said that the state government is ready to grant amnesty to small-scale farmers cultivating State Agricultural Development Corporation of Perak (SADC) land illegally.

Ahmad Faizal said that this will legitimise their activities while generating income for the state and SADC from the rent and lease offered.

Dr Jeyakumar also urge the mentri besar to add another clause in the regulations, where a committee should be formed in order to exercise the power in implementing the policy.

“This committee should include the State Land and Mining Office, State Secretariat, assemblymen from both the government and the Opposition, representatives from the farmers and breeders association in Perak and also Orang Asli groups.

“Therefore, if there is any land in the state which is about to be privatised, then this committee should be informed.

“They will check if the land is occupied by any farmers. If there is an occupant then the committee can discuss the best way to help the farmers. There will be a check and balance,” he explained.

Earlier, Dr Jeyakumar together with the representatives from the coalition presented a memorandum on this matter to the mentri besar’s special officer Mohd Jaffrey Mohd Zainol in front of the State Secretariat Building here.

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