CAMERON HIGHLANDS: Barely a month after enforcement officers tore down the living quarters of suspected illegal foreign workers at a farm in Blue Valley, the authorities were surprised to see the buildings erected again.
The authorities, however, would have none of it.
A National Security Council-led team yesterday demolished the rebuilt living quarters in an operation to clear illegal land extensions of a farm here.
“We have underestimated the size of the illegal extensions, which cover about 10.5ha.
“This is easily three to four times the size of the legal farm,” said NSC secretary Datuk Mohamed Tajudeen Abdul Wahab, adding that work to clear away the illegal extensions would take longer than expected.
“We will have to improvise ways to demolish these extensions,” he told reporters.
He said the owner was believed to have invested some RM10mil on the farm.
Mohamed Tajudeen believed that the illegal extensions had been there for several years.
“It is possible that the owner gradually expanded his farm. We believe that the expansion was done over about five years,” he said.
Once the clean-up at the farm was completed, the team would move to another location to continue its operation, he said.
Mohamed Tajudeen also said at least 20 foreign workers without proper documents were detained.
He said the farm owner could have kept their documents but was not present during the operation.
The operation followed instructions from Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin to rescue Cameron Highlands from further destruction and restore it.
Rampant illegal land clearing has been blamed for contributing to the recent natural disasters affecting the highlands.
Early last month, flash floods and landslides claimed five lives at Ringlet and Bertam Valley following a downpour.
The operation involved about 550 personnel from the NSC and agencies such as the Pahang Land and Mines Department, the state Forestry Department, the state Environmental Department, the Immigration Department and Civil Defence Department as well as police, army and Rela.Related story:
Farms crippled by loss of workers, say Cameron farmers