IPOH, Apr 1 — Residents of Lim Garden here and a group of farmers from Kanthan, Chemor have objected to the rezoning of a plot here from agricultural to industrial use for the establishment of the Silver Valley Technology Park.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairman Dr Jeyakumar Devaraj, who represented the farmers and residents, said that they were worried the development and land clearing would affect the livelihoods of the farmers and cause flooding.
“The tributaries from the development area in Kanthan streams to the Sungai Pari river which pass by the Lim Garden. Developments in Klebang, Tasek and Meru for the past 10 years have already increased the flooding frequency in the area.
“The residents are worried that the industrial development in Kanthan now will add surface runoff from existing 15 per cent to 90 per cent. This will cause frequent flooding with more serious impact,” he told a press conference when met outside the Ipoh City Council here.
Following a meeting with the Ipoh City Council’s public hearing councillors today, Dr Jeyakumar also revealed the authorities did not conduct any environment impact assessment (EIA) for the development.
“We have urged the council to hold the decision to change the land use from agricultural to industrial.
“We need to see EIA reports first and our experts need to study it. Don’t rush the development as it affects the public,” he said.
Dr Jeyakumar also argued that the proposed development was unnecessary when other technology parks were not performing well.
“The farmers are producing food for the nation. It’s not right to stop them and develop industrial parks in the place where they have been operating for decades,” he said.
Tan Tean Chee, 59, a farmer from Taman Sri Kanthan, said that more than 200 small scale farmers will be affected by the project.
“Around 100 farmers have already received the evacuation letter while others are in the process of getting the letter.
“Ten years ago, farmers operating in more than 24 hectares were expelled. The land has been claimed by the developers.
“However, until today the lands are left untouched. What is the logic? Why do they have to chase the farmers out and do nothing with the land?” he asked.
Tan also alleged that some of the land was used for oil palms instead of development.
He also said the authorities should focus the development on some other area as development can be done in any land, but farming requires suitable land.