KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — A group of more than 200 durian farmers in Pahang, who are part of an ongoing legal dispute against a private corporation looking to take over their farms, won yet another minor reprieve today when the Kuantan High Court delayed its decision for another two weeks for two similar judicial review leave applications.
The court had previously set today to deliver its decision on the judicial review applications by the farmers, represented by the group called Save Musang King Alliance (Samka).
While postponing the decision date, the High Court also ordered for an interim stay order, that was previously granted to prohibit authorities from evicting the farmers, to be extended until December 23 as well pending its final decision.
“In the meantime, the respondents are prohibited from entering into the farmers’ land or evicting them from the land,” read a statement from Samka detailing the court’s decision.
This also means farmers are free to resume work on their land for another two weeks without interference from the authorities.
Detailing further, Samka explained how the court had informed them and the respondents of its intention to seek further time before delivering its decision on the matter, with today’s court date instead converted into case management.
“The court will not give its decision on both applications today as the judge requires further clarifications from both parties regarding the second judicial review application filed by 94 farmers,” read their statement.
The first suit was filed on August 21 by 110 durian farmers from the six Raub villages where Musang King durians are planted — namely in Sungai Ruan, Sungai Chalit, Sungai Klau, Tras, Sungai Chetang and Sang Lee — against five respondents including the Pahang state government, Raub district land administrator, Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Negeri Pahang (PKPP) and Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP Sdn Bhd.
Then, on October 23 Samka announced that a second group of 94 durian farmers have now also filed for judicial review against the Pahang state government and the private company involved in the matter.
The total number of applicants in this suit now stands at 204 farmers, all represented for under Samka.
According to Samka, the durian farmers had initiated the lawsuit with the intention of defending their rights, and to put a stop to a private corporation’s alleged bid to seize the fruits of the farmers’ labour and to allegedly grab huge profits without putting in any substantial effort.
Previously, the High Court had on August 28 also granted a stay order against any enforcement action and eviction of the 110 durian farmers who had filed the lawsuit until October 28 pending its hearing of the farmer’s application for leave for judicial review.
This meant the farmers could continue their usual activities in their durian farms for those two months before the further extension granted today.
This lawsuit is the first class action lawsuit filed by durian farmers in Raub.