IPOH: Allegations of mistreatment and forceful eviction against a group of squatter farmers from Perak who protested outside Parliament on Tuesday (Sept 12) are not true, says the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) chief executive Datuk Redza Rafiq Abdul Razak.
He said the state, through the corporation, has held a series of negotiations and engagement sessions to resolve the relevant issues with the farmers that had gone on for more than 11 years.
“The state government has spent about RM700,000 to create new areas as alternative locations for squatter farmers to continue their operations.
“The offer was, however, rejected by the group,” he said in a statement on Thursday (Sept 14).
“The state government has always been committed to resolving issues on the claims by the group of farmers who were farming illegally on PKNP-owned land,” he said.
“At the same time, we have received a memorandum from local folk, including residents from Taman Chepor Sentosa, who often face natural disasters and destruction of properties caused by flash floods they claim are due to the uncontrolled farming activities,” he added.
It was reported that a group of farmers from Perak had held a protest outside the Parliament building on Monday (sept 12), asking the Government to interfere in the plans by the state government to change their farm lands into industrial or housing areas.
The group, which was said to represent about 250 farmers in Perak, claimed that they had farmed on some 645ha of land for more than 80 years.
The farmers were accompanied by PSM leaders and non-governmental organisation Lawan Lapar.
Redza Rafiq said the state often emphasised the importance of practising proper land use and planning procedures.
“The state remains committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the fair and equitable use of land resources,” he said.
Redza Rafiq also said the state was always committed to ensure the availability of sufficient food resources.
“Perak is the first state that launched the Food Security Action Plan in an effort to lessen the reliance on imported food.
“Food security is one of six main agendas under the Perak Sejahtera 2030 development plan, with various initiatives to empower the agriculture industry, including the setting up of the Food Security Academy and halal meat hub,” he said.
Source : The Star Online