Farmers get second chance


Dr Ahmad Zahid chairing the meeting with officers at the Cameron Highlands Land and District office.

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The High Level Committee On Illegal Cultivation and Restoration of Cameron Highlands has decided to reconsider applications for Temporary Occupational Licenses (TOL) submitted by illegal farmers, which were previously rejected by the Pahang government.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the state government would vet through again the 600-over applications it had turned down previously.

“The committee has also agreed to issue permits to illegal operators currently farming on more than 217.3ha of government land here since 30 years ago,” Dr Ahmad Zahid said after co-chairing the committee’s second meeting with Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob here.

“Meanwhile, the Immigration Department will be directed to assist employers of illegal workers in obtaining the necessary documents for the workers from their relevant embassies.

“This needs to be done in order for our Immigration Department to issue work permits and the e-Kad (enforcement card) to undocumented foreign workers.

“Employers should take opportunity of the government’s initiative to help them,” he added.

Dr Ahmad Zahid and officers during a site visit to Sungai Bertam.RONNIE CHIN/The Star
Dr Ahmad Zahid and officers during a site visit to Sungai Bertam. RONNIE CHIN/ The Star

According to Dr Ahmad Zahid, these were among the eight proactive measures decided by the committee to address long-standing issues affecting land cultivation on the highlands here including land encroachment, soil erosion and flooding.

As an immediate move to tackle flooding, he said gotong-royong activities would be conducted by the state Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) together with other government agencies, non-governmental organisations and locals.

“It is time that farm operators and land cultivators here learnt to become more responsible.

“I’ve been told by the Mentri Besar that some people even discard their four-wheel-drive vehicles in the river and waterways.

Dr Ahmad Zahid looking at Sungai Bertam while an officer from DID briefing him during his visit.
Dr Ahmad Zahid looking at Sungai Bertam while an officer from DID briefing him during his visit.

“Do not only think of profits, it may cause the environment and others to suffer,” Dr Ahmad Zahid said.

He added that a total of 28 orang asli families at Kampung Sungai Tiang in Bertam Valley would be relocated to make way for flood mitigation efforts.

Dr Ahmad Zahid also visited the Sultan Abu Bakar Dam in Habu here after inspecting the flood mitigation project site in Kampung Sungai Tiang.

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