Coming down hard on illegal cultivation of durian

After Aug 24, control posts will be built and only certain individuals will be permitted entry into durian farms. — Filepic

KUANTAN: The state government will be taking action soon against the illegal cultivation of durian on government land and in forest reserves.

The Pahang Land and Mines Office said the government would permit entry and occupation of government land and forest reserves around Kampung Sungai Ruan and Sungai Chalit, Raub, by state government joint venture companies only.

“Beginning Aug 24, all areas of durian cultivation and other illegal crops in the vicinity of the villages will be seized by the Pahang government’s enforcement unit.

“After the date, control posts will be built and only relevant individuals will be permitted entry.

“Enforcers can either prosecute anyone who does not have permission to enter the area or destroy crops if necessary,” the office said in a statement.

It stressed that the government was firm in addressing illegal durian cultivation in Raub and would ensure it was dealt with immediately.

The office said there was growing evidence of encroachment in the Sungai Ruan and Sungai Chalit areas.

“The state government will not tolerate encroachment and will act in accordance with the law.

“Based on the provisions of Section 425, National Land Code 1965, anyone convicted can be fined up to RM500,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding five years or both.

“For encroachment in forest reserves, intruders can be prosecuted in accordance with Section 47, National Forestry Act 1984, where if convicted, can be fined up to RM10,000 or imprisoned for a term not exceeding three years or both,” it said.

The state government had announced that a land legalisation scheme would be imposed to resolve large scale illegal cultivation of durian in Raub.

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

In return, the farmers must sell all their durian to the designated trading company at pre-determined prices.

Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui had questioned why the scheme involved a third party which was a large private corporation.

“If the state government had decided to rent the so-called illegal farms to another entity, why did it not prioritise local farmers who have been farming for decades?” he asked.

Chow said many farmers had been submitting applications to the state government for years and were willing to pay the necessary rent but instead a scheme was formulated to grant the land to a huge private corporation.

“The reason why ‘illegal farms’ exist in the first place is because the state government had refused to approve applications submitted by farmers.

“The state government’s scheme of renting the land to a huge private corporation proves the fact that illegal farms can actually be legalised,” he said.

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