Farmers, activists gather outside Perak state secretariat building to halt farm demolition

IPOH: Farmers and activists gathered at the Perak state secretariat building here in hopes to get the Mentri Besar’s attention to stop their crops from further being destroyed at the farms in Kanthan.

Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj claimed that the Perak Land and Mines Office enforcement officers said they would only stop the demolition if they received orders from the Mentri Besar.

“Thus we are here today (Oct 25), to meet with Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad so that he can give orders to stop the farms from being destroyed, and for further discussions.

“The farmers were given notice a week ago, and yesterday (Oct 24), enforcement officers forcefully destroyed the farms.

“These farmers have been growing vegetables and other crops for three generations now.

“The alternative land promised by the state government is a hilly area, and farmers have been explaining that the land is not suitable for growing crops, but no one wants to listen,” he told reporters outside the state secretariat building here Wednesday (Oct 25).

He added that they were unable to meet the Mentri Besar as he is in Kuala Lumpur for work, and were told that officers in-charge were not available as well.

Dr Jeyakumar said they eventually managed to get the contact number of the Mentri Besar’s personal assistant, and the message has been passed to him.

“It took farmers years to set up their farms, and in the blink of an eye everything was destroyed. This area comes under the Prime Minister’s constituency,” he added.

Efforts have been made to get a statement from the Mentri Besar’s office.

On Tuesday, Dr Jeyakumar and three others were arrested by police during the farm eviction process, after a stand-off with the enforcement officers.

PSM secretary-general A. Sivarajan claimed that an officer pushed activist Chong Yee Shan in the commotion, causing her to fall and break some teeth.

Ipoh OCPD Asst Commissioner Yahaya Hassan had said that the four were arrested for obstructing civil servants from carrying out their duties.

The four were released on police bail the same night.

On Oct 19, The Star reported that more than 130 farmers in Kanthan were worried about their livelihood after they were ordered to leave their farms.

They had handed a memorandum addressed to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at his Tambun parliamentary service centre in Meru.

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