ISSUES of boundary and land ownership are holding up efforts to legalise farmers in Malim Nawar and Jeram, said Perak state executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon.
He said parts of the land toiled by 254 farmers in the areas were either under the State Agriculture Development Corporation (SADC) or State Economic Development Corporation (SEDC).
“Until and unless these two issues are sorted out, farmers tending to the land cannot be legalised,” he said, adding that the total land involved was about 331 hectares.
Speaking to reporters after meeting farmers in Ipoh recently Dr Mah said the SADC and SEDC would need to check their records on land ownership.
“The farmers have also agreed to engage a private surveyor to determine the boundary of the land they are working on,” he said.
Recently, Tambun, Gopeng and Tanjung Malim farmers were given land they toiled for generations.
However, farmers in Malim Nawar and Coldstream would have to wait a little longer as the task force on land, chaired by Dr Mah, was still sorting out certain issues.
Dr Mah said although the farmers were promised land in 2008, the transfer of ownership could not be carried out due to a change in the state government.
“After Barisan Nasional took over in 2009, the initiative was revived,” he said.
To a question on how soon the farmers could be legalised, Dr Mah said he could not give a time frame.
“But I have instructed the relevant officials to get work done as soon as possible.
“The state government is concerned about this and wants prompt action to be taken,” he said.
Kampar Farmers’ Association chairman Wong Mok Ching said farmers were hopeful that the state government could resolve the long-standing problem.
“We hope to be given 30-year lease instead of 10 years that was offered to us in 2008,” he said.
Farmer Chai Yoon Fook, 50, said farmers had been kept waiting over the last three years for the land they were promised.
“By legalising us, it would allow us to get more workers and expand our farm,” the second generation farmer said, noting that their produce were also exported to Singapore.