Last-ditch appeal to save nurseries

Sungai Buloh is famed as a horticultural area and has become a local tourist attraction. — Filepic

NURSERY operators in Sungai Buloh are appealing to the Selangor government to house about 40 of them at an alternative site.

Selangor and Kuala Lumpur Landscaping and Nursery Operators Association president Lee Chee Hoong said the operators who initially numbered over 70, were facing eviction due to construction of the Damansara-Shah Alam Highway (Dash), road widening of Jalan Sungai Buloh in Shah Alam and underground pipe maintenance works.

“Despite our efforts to approach various state agencies and legalise our businesses, it appears as if we are being cast aside and evicted without any proper solutions, ” he said, adding that many had been running their businesses for decades.

“At one point between 1999 and 2008, the operators paid rental to Selangor Agricultural Development Corporation, ” said Parti Sosialis Malaysia secretary-general A. Sivarajan.

Sivarajan (second from right) handing over the memorandum on behalf of the Sungai Buloh nursery operators to Mohd Hidayat (right) at Bangunan SUK in Shah Alam. With them are Chee Hoong (left) and Mohd Noor. Sivarajan (second from right) handing over the memorandum on behalf of the Sungai Buloh nursery operators to Mohd Hidayat (right) at Bangunan SUK in Shah Alam. With them are Chee Hoong (left) and Mohd Noor.

The nursery operators and Sivarajan spoke at a press conference at Bangunan SUK in Shah Alam, before handing over a memorandum highlighting their members’ plight to Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari’s office.

The operators had tried applying for a temporary occupation licence for their nurseries with the Petaling Land and District Office (PTD), but their applications were rejected.

“In a letter dated September 2012, the then Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim had agreed with a suggestion by the Selangor Land and Mines Office that a nursery hub be included in the proposed project development for the land belonging to the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia (RRIM), ” said Sivarajan.

“The operators are questioning if such a condition was included in the development plan for the RRIM land. If yes, why were they not relocated there? If no, why was that proposal rejected?”

Nursery operator Jay Lee said: “When I approached RRIM for an update on the matter, I was told by the board that they were not considering nurseries as part of their development plans.”

Chee Hoong said some were issued notices by PTD Petaling to vacate their properties for “illegally occupying the land” under Section 425 of the National Land Code 1965.

Meanwhile, some operators had been asked to relocate to Bukit Cherakah in Puncak Alam and several moved to Hicom Section 28 in Shah Alam to make way for Dash.

“This interim move will kill the businesses that we have worked so hard to build, ” said another nursery operator Mohd Noor Abdullah.

“We are not asking for much; we just want a piece of land to continue our nurseries, ” he said.

According to the association, the stretch where the nurseries are located, sometimes known as Selangor Green Lane, is famed as a horticultural centre and has even become a local tourist attraction for people seeking a wide variety of plants, gardening and landscaping materials.

“We hope the Selangor Mentri Besar will intervene and arrange for a discussion with the relevant agencies to come up with an amicable solution for all, ” said Chee Hoong.

“We reject the relocation to the two interim locations as the sites are not suitable for nurseries and will result in the operators being scattered everywhere.

“We hope to move to a suitable location within the RRIM land that would be designated as a nursery hub and are willing to pay a reasonable rental to the state agency that will manage the hub.”

Amirudin’s chief private secretary Mohd Hidayat Mohd Sauffi, who received the memorandum, said it would be reviewed by the Mentri Besar’s office and passed to the relevant exco member or state agency for further action.

A copy of the memorandum was also handed to the offices of Selangor infrastructure and public amenities, agriculture modernisation and agro-based industry committee chairman Izham Hashim and Selangor housing and urban wellbeing, entrepreneur development committee chairman Rodziah Ismail.

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