SEREMBAN: Seventy-two Felcra settlers in Kampung Esok in Jelebu have filed a suit against the agency for allegedly shortchanging them in the sale of rubber wood from their smallholdings.
A spokesman for the group, Aziz Said, said the agency had only agreed to pay each settler RM5,000 per hectare when the average market price for such wood was about RM12,000.
He said the settlers collectively owned a total of 172.8ha of land planted with rubber trees and had agreed to fell and sell the wood after having tapped the trees for over 20 years.
“Without our knowledge or consent, Felcra awarded a contract to fell these trees to its cooperative in August last year,” he said.
He said they were told, after making inquiries with the agency, that they would get RM5,000 each per hectare despite having knowledge that the market price can go as high as RM12,000. Each of the settlers owned about 2.4ha.
The group filed their writ of summons at the Seremban High Court here through their counsel Haresh Mahadevan and Ramzani Idris on Nov 8.
“A similar rubber tree felling exercise was carried out at the Ulu Yoh Felda scheme in Tampin last year and each of the landowners received RM12,000 for each hectare,” said Aziz.
He said Felcra had credited RM4,800 into each of the settlers’ accounts just before the general election.
In their suit, the settlers are seeking special damages for the wood sold below the market price and general damages for the delay to complete the replanting of oil palm trees on their land.
Haresh said the court had fixed Dec 10 for case management.