AFTER several futile attempts to meet with the state government to save their land, desperate farmers and breeders in Perak have turned to the Federal Government for assistance instead.
Grouped under the Save Perak Breeders and Farmers Affiliation, some 300 farmers from 22 areas in the state, who are facing eviction from their precious farmland, have gathered some of their farms’ produce at Precinct 4 in Putrajaya on Thursday.
They were requesting to meet with Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for intervention after the Perak government had awarded their farmland to other organisations and individuals in the name of development.
This group of farmers and breeders had booked seven buses, heading to Putrajaya early in the morning.
Upon reaching the ministry at 10am, they raised large posters and banners, in addition to the fruits and vegetables they brought along, such as papayas, pomelos, long beans, and cucumbers, to stage a protest that drew the attention of the public.
As Ismail Sabri and his deputy minister were absent, affiliation leader Fong Hock Chon and coordinator K. Segar had handed a memorandum, which was received by Ismail Sabri’s special officer Syed Mohd Fazmi Sayid Mahammad, who promised them that the ministry would issue a response within two weeks.
Speaking to the press, Segar said the farmland from 22 areas with eviction notices amounted to at least 4,000ha.
“We have handed memorandums to Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir six times, with the most recent date on Dec 15. But he had refused to meet with us repeatedly,” he said.
Segar noted that some of the farmers have even been brought to court.
“An example would be the farmers in Tronoh, who are being evicted by state subsidiary company Mentri Besar Incorporated.
“The company has filed several suits against the farmers for refusing to vacate the land to make way for their development project in Bandar Tasik Amanjaya, formerly known as the Kinta Lake District project, fronting the Ipoh-Lumut Road,” he said.
Segar added that these farmers have been farming many types of vegetables and fruits, while some bred fishes and more, on the land since the 1940s.
“Anyone can see that they have been working hard to contribute to the country’s production.
“It is truly regretful that the Perak government has not only ignored their numerous applications for the land title, but gave the land away to its subsidiary company for development,” he said.
Pomelo growers in Ampang, Ipoh, have also been served legal notices by a company whose director is a Ipoh City Councillor.
These 25 growers are responsible for contributing to the state’s supply of Tambun pomelos.
A farmer, known as Chan, said the state government should allow farmers to continue their farming activities on their respective farmlands instead of having only development on their minds.
“Otherwise, consumers are the one who will be receiving the raw end of the deal as it would be hard to maintain the prices of vegetables such as kangkung.
“Prices may shoot up from the current RM8 per kg to RM12 per kg,” he said.
The affected farms are in areas including Siputeh and Kampung Bali in Tronoh; Changkat Kinding; Ampang in Ipoh; Chenderong: Tanjung Tualang; Tanah Hitam; Kanthan and Kuala Kuang in Chemor; Malim Nawar; Batu Puteh; Kampung Banit and Sungai Kroh in Tapah; Batu Gajah; Temoh; Sungei Siput; Biovalley Kampar and Mambang Diawan in Kampar; Pusing; Papan; Lawan Kuda in Gopeng; and Chenderiang.