Perak govt suffered losses due to illegal agricultural activities in Kanthan, says MB

GERIK:The Perak government suffered a loss of millions of ringgit due to the group of farmers in Kanthan, Tambun who engaged in illegal agricultural activities at the Silver Valley Technology Park (SVTP) project site belonging to the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNPk).

Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad (pic) said the loss was due to the farmers' actions of not paying premiums and agricultural land taxes as well as temporary occupation licence (TOL) since they have been engaged in illegal agricultural activities for the past 11 years.

ALSO READ : Policies by state govt made it hard for Kanthan farmers to comply, says PSM’s Dr Jeyakumar

"That's why we made a decision to 'legalise' their business. We give replacement land so that they can pay the land premium and TOL to the state government and we get revenue (from the agricultural activity).

"I understand that is not what all farmers want because there are some farmers who have agreed to accept the offer from the state government but there is a group of politicians who want to be heroes by influencing the farmers,” he said.

He spoke to reporters after delivering spectacles for the Yayasan Perak Eye Sinar 2023 programme in conjunction with the Menteri Besar's Professional Talk and Appreciation Ceremony with educators at the Dato' Haji Hasbullah Hall at the Hulu Perak District Education Office here on Friday (Oct 27).

On Tuesday, the police arrested four individuals, including Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) chairman Dr Michael Jeyakumar for trying to prevent the eviction of farmers in Kanthan, Tambun.

Also arrested for preventing civil servants from carrying out their duties are PSM committee member R Karthiges, Perak PSM Youth member P Kesavan, and a farmer known as Ho Pon Tien.

On Thursday (Oct 26), the Mentri Besar Perak's Office denied claims that there was persecution and forced eviction of a group of farmers in Kanthan, saying that the land-clearing process was carried out in accordance with the law.

In a separate development, Saarani said his ministry has submitted three location proposals to open a lanthanide non-radioactive rare earth element (NR-REE) factory to the Ministry of Natural Resources, Environment and Climate Change (NRECC).

"We have not decided yet where the lanthanide processing plant will be opened because we need to get approval from NRECC.

"This is because only the Federal Government gave permission to Perak to open an industrial centre to separate raw elements into at least 15 other elements," he said.

Saarani said the three proposed locations were industrial areas in the districts of Mualim, Ipoh and Hulu Perak.

He added that the first proposed location is in the Automotive High Technology Valley Development (AHTV) area near Proton City in Tanjung Malim.

"Proton City is an AHTV area so of course the use of extracted lanthanide elements is very useful for vendors there.

"But if the proposal is rejected, we have a second proposed location which is at Silver Valley Technology Park (SVTP) in Khantan Baharu in Ipoh and a third location in Gerik since the lanthanide mine is located in the Hulu Perak district," he said.

On Oct 4, Saarani was reported to have said that the state government had received approval from NRECC to build a laboratory for lanthanide NR-REE in the state.

Saarani said the laboratory was established together with Menteri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc Perak), Perak State Agricultural Development Corporation (SADC) and PKNPk.- Bernama

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farmers , MB , Perak , Kanthan , NR-REE


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