IPOH: A group of farmers hope that the state government would continue to allow them to work on state-owned lands.
One of the farmers, Tioh Wen Fei, 30 said it had been more than a year since she last visited her farm in Kampar after they were forced to evacuate.
"My father set up the agriculture plant when he was young and I am the second generation to continue his hard work. We rear assorted types of fish and supply them to the Kampar wet market.
"Last year, a group of men forced us to evacuate and told us that the land belonged to the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) and that was the last time I was at the farm," she said after witnessing Parti Sosialis Malaysia Perak chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj handing in a memorandum to Mentri Besar Datuk Saarani Mohamad at the state secretariat building here on Wednesday (Sept 22).
The memorandum was received by Saarani's special officer Azlan Aminuddin.
Tioh said since the evacuation, her family had relied on their savings.
"My other siblings would transfer us some money as well to help out. I am worried about what will happen to us. We have been farmers our whole lives and we don’t know what else we can do.
"My father and his friends have made several requests to the state government to solve this matter. Nothing has been done by the state, perhaps it is because we are just small farmers.
"However, that doesn’t mean that we do not contribute back to society,” she said.
Meanwhile, Gabungan Petani Perak association representative Tan Tean Chee, 59, couldn't recall how many times he met with representatives from various departments and agencies to solve this issue.
"I have been a farmer my whole life, planting assorted vegetables. I might be just a small farmer, but I also supply food for the community.
"Now that we are in the middle of the pandemic, it is harder to get food supplies from neighbouring countries.
"So why doesn't the state government just let us do our jobs? Wouldn’t that make things easier for everyone?
"Every time we meet with the representatives, the discussion will turn into heated arguments and the ones that are suffering the most are us, the small scale farmers," he said, adding that he is now selling fertilisers to earn a living.
"My association has farmers from Kanthan, Tanah Hitam and more. We don’t know who else can help us with this problem.
"Right now, food security has been a threat to the state. So why are they making things more difficult for local farmers?" he said.
Dr Jeyakumar said the state administration needs to take immediate action to solve the matter as it may affect the state's food supply.
"When Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu was the Mentri Besar, he announced a policy to allow small scale farmers to continue their activities without having leases and permits.
"However some agencies didn’t follow the policy, whereby farmers were forced to evacuate.
"In this memorandum, we would like to suggest several things including setting up an agricultural board comprising representatives from state and local farmers so that it would benefit both parties," he said.