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KUANTAN: Pahang has decided to proceed with the proposed land legalisation scheme to resolve the problem of large-scale illegal cultivation of durian in Raub.

State secretary Datuk Seri Dr Sallehuddin Ishak said the government viewed the matter seriously as encroachment by illegal durian farmers encompassed some 4,451ha of land in Raub.

“This needs to be addressed immediately and in a strict manner in order to protect the local durian industry.

“Durian produced by these illegal farms do not have MyGAP certification and violate many rules and export protocols,” Sallehuddin said, adding that the illegal cultivation also affected the environment and its sustainability, especially forest reserves and water resources.

“Besides that, the state government has lost quit rent revenue.

“Based on the lowest rates of lease and quit rent, it is estimated that the state government has lost RM30mil over 10 years,” said Sallehuddin.

He said to overcome the problem, the state government has decided to let Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Pahang and Royal Pahang Durian Group find the best solution possible to safeguard the interests of all parties.

“In addition, they must comply with the requirements of environmental regulations, MyGAP certification and other related regulations.

“The state government will strictly apply the provisions of the law in this matter and will take action on the illegal use of government land and forest encroachment,” said Sallehuddin.

He said this in response to Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji’s statement in Parliament that 70% to 80% of Musang King durian from Raub were illegally farmed.

Tengku Zulpuri said a win-win solution should be sought.

He said there was no initiative taken to discuss the matter with the illegal farmers before the state government goes ahead with the scheme.

He proposed that the Agriculture and Food Industries Ministry, Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry and Rural Development Ministry work together to turn the area with illegal durian farms into a food and tourism hub.

It was reported that farmers involved would not be evicted but instead be allowed to continue to farm, subject to the terms and conditions under the scheme.

In return, the farmers must sell all their durians to the designated trading company, Royal Pahang Durian Export Sdn Bhd, at pre-determined prices.

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