KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 ― Action being taken against Musang King durian farmers cultivating encroached land in Raub was not to oppress them, but merely the authorities enforcing the law, the Pahang state government said today.
Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail pointed out that despite initial action forcing the farmers to vacate the state-owned land, enforcement has since been halted following the High Court’s ruling to allow Save Musang King Alliance’s (Samka) judicial review over the eviction notice.
“Regarding this matter, I would like to stress that the state government has no intention of oppressing the farmers involved.
“On the contrary, the action is merely enforcement that is allowed under the law, and the farmers involved should instead be law-abiding citizens by vacating the government’s land which they have occupied illegally all this time,” wrote Wan Rosdy.
He stressed the Pahang government remains committed to taking action against farmers cultivating illegally encroached land in Raub, but added that he hoped the farmers would cooperate with the state government to resolve the current impasse on Musang King durian farms in the state.
This comes on the heels of a growing dispute over land ownership related to Musang King durian farms in Raub that began in July last year when state firm Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Negeri Pahang (PKPP) and Royal Pahang Durian Group (RPD) entered a joint venture to cultivate the fruit commercially on a large scale.
The joint venture birthed Royal Pahang Durian Resources PKPP Sdn Bhd (RPDR-PKPP), an entity formed and authorised to handle the legalising process of farms said to exist on encroached land.
This after they were awarded in June the lease and rights to use 5,357 acres of land in Raub for 30 plus 30 years.
Patches of land within the plots awarded to the venture, they then claimed, were illegally occupied by the local farmers for various crops, including the highly sought-after durian strain.
A month after the land was awarded to RPDR-PKPP, farmers who later formed Samka claimed they were being forced into what they claimed was a situation of “modern slavery” through a legalisation scheme of their farms and the literal fruits of their labour.
Samka claims Raub farmers have been applying for land titles through the proper channels that will allow them to continue farming lawfully, but have been repeatedly rejected by the state government.
The group went public with their grouses before initiating legal action against their eviction notices, leading to the Kuantan High Court ruling in favour of Samka and allowing for a judicial review of their eviction notices from the district and land office.
The judicial review is set to be heard on October 28.