PUTRAJAYA, June 21 — The Court of Appeal has rescheduled to July 19 to hear the applications by 131 durian farmers and Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Pahang (PKPP) who are seeking to vary the orders given by a judge concerning the maintaining of the fruit orchards pending the disposal of their appeal with regard to an eviction order.

This was after Court of Appeal judge Datuk Wong Kian Kheong, who sat on the court three-member panel, recused himself from hearing the case following his disclosure of connection with one of the lawyers representing the parties in the case.

He said he was grateful that the parties in the case have no objection that he hears the case but in the interest of transparency and integrity of the proceeding, he decided to recuse himself.

Earlier, lawyer Brendan Navin Siva representing the farmers, Pahang state legal adviser Datuk Saiful Edris Zainuddin appearing for the Pahang government, PKPP’s counsel Mohd Najid Hussain and lawyer Tan Sri Cecil Abraham representing the Royal Pahang Durian Resources PKPP Sdn Bhd told the court they had no objections to Justice Wong sitting on the panel to hear the case.

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Justice Datuk Supang Lian, who chaired the panel, said due to Justice Wong’s recusal, the hearing scheduled today is vacated.

She then instructed the matter to go for a case management today to fixed the new hearing date. The other judge presiding on the panel is Justice Datuk Azhahari Kamal Ramli.

Meanwhile, Brendan, when contacted by Bernama, confirmed that the court set July 19 as the new hearing date following case management before Court of Appeal deputy registrar Zuhrina Mohamed Nor.

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On May 28, Court of Appeal judge Datuk Lee Swee Seng denied the farmers’ application to allow them to enter the durian orchards to cultivate and maintain the durian trees, pending the disposal of their appeal against the Pahang government’s decision to issue eviction notices against them.

He also made an order that there shall be no destruction of structures of felling of the durian trees on the affected subject lands except with leave of the court pending the disposal of the farmers’ appeal.

Justice Lee also ordered PKPP to maintain the trees by fertilising, watering them and harvesting their fruits, as well as by warding off all pests and animals.

He also said PKPP must also file an affidavit before the 10th of every month to account for the grade of durian fruits and their selling price.

Also representing the Pahang government in today’s proceeding were assistant legal advisers Dorah Abdul Kadir and Abdul Hafiz Razat. Meanwhile, the famers were also represented by lawyer Siew Choon Jern. — Bernama