Kanthan farmers told to leave generational land, claim land office issued order


IPOH: More than 130 farmers in Kanthan are worried about their livelihood after they were ordered to leave their farms.

According to one of the farmers, Liew Wong, 57, he received an eviction order notice from the Kinta district land office on Oct 13 (Friday).

“There were no warnings, no officers or any representative came to meet us; a notice was issued on my farm stating that I had only seven days to evacuate and that I was working on Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP)-owned land illegally," he said.

He said this after handing a memorandum to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at his Tambun Parliamentary Public Service Centre in Meru here today (Oct 19).

Liew said five other farmers received the same notices at their farms in the Hulu Kinta sub-district and Kinta district.

“There are more than 130 farmers working around the area, planting vegetables, corn, assorted fruits, and palm oil. We are one of the biggest farming groups in Perak, supplying produce to nearly all the markets.

“If they want us to leave the farm, at least provide us with an alternative area. How are we supposed to live when there is no source of income,” he said.

Another farmer, Liew Yoke Chuan, 57, is hoping that something can be done to save his farm.

“We have sent countless memorandums to Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad but no action has been taken.

“My late grandfather worked on the farm for more than 50 years. I am torn between feeling sad or angry. We are local farmers, supplying between 60 and 100 tonnes of vegetables produced every day to the public but this is how we are being treated.

“Today, six of us received the notice, no one knows what is going to happen tomorrow.

“We are worried that the land office might use the authority to evacuate us. Where are we supposed to go? “he said.

PSM representative Sarat Babu who was also present hopes an immediate response can be taken to save the farmers.

“The notice claimed that the farmers were residing illegally which is incorrect because, in 2010, there were meetings held between the farmers with PKNP and the Ipoh district and land office to discuss the farming activities on the same land," said Sarat.

He added that the PKNP issued a letter in 2012 to the farmers and promised a new area to replace their farms because it had an upcoming project on the land.

However, the project was canceled and there was an understanding between PKNP and the farmer that they were allowed to conduct farming activities without being charged.

“With the nation’s ongoing food security problems, we hope Anwar will take note of the seriousness of this issue and help the farmers. If they are forced to leave it will certainly have an impact on the food supply,” he said.

The memorandum was accepted by the parliamentary head officer Raja Azam Shah Raja Omar.

When contacted, PKR’s Ulu Kinta assemblyman Muhammad Arafat Varisai Muhamad said he would try to assist the farmers in the best way possible.

“I was told about the farmers’ situation and understood their frustration. We are certainly aware and issues like this have been going on for a long time.

“While we pity the farmers, we also understand that PKNP is also doing something for the state. Both parties play important roles and as an assemblyman, I will go through the documents, perhaps meet the farmers, and try to get a response from the state about the situation,” he said.

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 Farmers , Kanthan , Perak , Anwar Ibrahim , PSM , Sarat Babu

   

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