KUANTAN: The illegal vegetable farm issues in Cameron Highlands could have been avoided through long-term leasing of land to small scale farmers, says Kuantan MP Fuziah Salleh.
She said the state government should identify land for the purpose and farmers could then invest in the right equipment for better yields, as well as for the betterment of the country’s economy.
“They can also be trained to use modern technology, as well as good agricultural practices, to avoid the use of illegal pesticides. The Pahang state government should have adopted a win-win approach in this regard, ” she said yesterday.
Fuziah, who is also Pahang Pakatan Harapan chairman, said the use of force against illegal vegetable farmers in Cameron Highlands was regrettable and should not have happened, especially during the festive season.
“I take note that it is a water catchment area but it would have been more humane to wait for their crops to be harvested first before relocating them to identified lots through proper negotiations.
“Furthermore, this is the festive season and their children will start school soon. Surely their crops are needed to fund their children’s schooling, ” she said.
Seven farmers in Cameron Highlands were arrested on Monday after a stand-off with authorities who had gone in to demolish illegal vegetable farms.
State secretary Datuk Seri Dr Sallehuddin Ishak said the government was committed to proceeding with the enforcement and would not compromise for the sake of sustainability and the prosperity of the people in the district.
The operation was jointly carried out by the Pahang Land Office, police and the Federal Reserve Unit.