MACC investigation into illegal durian farms almost complete


PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is completing its investigation into the issue of encroachment on state land in Raub, Pahang for illegal durian farming.

According to Sinar Harian, MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Azam Baki said the investigation was about 80% complete.

"We have called the farmers and relevant authorities for their statements.

"We need to understand there are two issues here. First is that the MACC could not intervene because there are investigations by other authorities.

"Second, is the issue of corruption where we have opened an investigation.

"Give us time because this is not a new case. It has been ongoing for a long time," he said on Friday (July 9).

He said that the MACC had obtained information from the state Forestry Department as well as the district and land office over the long-standing case.

The Pahang state government has been taking action against illegal durian farms in Raub situated on state land, including at forest reserve areas, which has led to losses of about RM30mil in land tax revenue over 10 years.

On July 4, the Pahang Forestry Department detained 18 people suspected of being illegal farmers and entering the permanent forest reserve area without permission.

The next day, the Raub Magistrate's Court granted the order to remand 18 Musang King durian farmers while Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui was also detained.

They were all later released on police bail.

They were detained after alleged acts of provocation against the department staff during an enforcement operation in the Batu Talam forest reserve in Raub.

Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said on the same day that the enforcement operation against illegal plantations in Raub was carried out after legal advice was obtained from the office of the state legal adviser.

He said the joint action involving the state Forestry Department and the Pahang State Enforcement Unit, with the cooperation of the police, began on July 3 and was expected to continue until Aug 2.

The enforcement operation involved illegal orchards including those that have Musang King durian trees planted in the Batu Talam permanent forest reserve, covering 101.17ha.

The department had explained that the joint operation with state government agencies was being undertaken to destroy illegal durian farms concentrated around the Batu Talam permanent forest reserve. It said the operation area was outside the jurisdiction of the court order granted to a group of durian planters who had initiated legal action last year.

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