“They said the lease does not guarantee farmers’ rights and is no different from the previous temporary occupation licence (TOL).
“The Pahang Mentri Besar had said previously that the lease will benefit the agricultural sector in Cameron Highlands.
“However, it appears that once they sign the contract, farmers will be restricted,” he said in a statement.
Chiong said apart from having to pay RM4,500 per acre annually, many farmers told him that the contract contained unfair and unreasonable terms.
He said the new lease was for 3+2 years and states that farmers cannot pass their land to the next generation.
“The contract also prohibits the use of heavy machinery by farmers and mortgaging agricultural land to financial institutions for loan applications. This will hinder farmers’ ability to obtain more funds for upgrading.
“Such terms will not help farmers transform and modernise,” said Chiong.
He added that at a time when the world was facing food security issues, the Pahang government should enhance its cooperation with industry players in order to promote agricultural growth.
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