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Freelance
Farming community been given a raw deal by the State Government of Perak


 


Media Statement
by M. Kula Segaran

(Parliament, Thursday):  A total of 20 farmers have been farming on state land for more then 20 years on a 20-acre area located near the Bercham area, Ipoh. Also there are some small-scale industries located on this 20 area land.

 

On this farmland the farmers have been cultivating various types of cash crops including fruit trees. To this farmers, farming are the only source of income. But all this is going to change soon. All the farmers have now got eviction notices from the developer.

 

All the farmers and others on the land have got evection notice Unknown to the farmers the whole 20acres was applied to be alienated to the State Secretary (Incorporation) Perak (SSI) in 2003. The state exco approved the alienation of the whole 20 acres to SSI on 2ndJuly03. The purpose of alienation as stated in the approval letter dated 12August03 is that the land is to be converted for housing and small industries.

 

The SSI is a body incorporated as an arm of the state government to hold both movable and immovable properties. To date the public is unaware if any of its business ventures have been successful or itís just an Ali Baba company. To the best of our knowledge the SSI has no known expertise in the business arena. Without any housing development experience why did the state government alienate this 20 acres of prime land to SSI? Having been alienated this land the SSI like all other government agencies entered into a joint venture with a private company to develop this land.

 

The Prime Minister while delivering his speech on 31stMarch06 in Parliament on the 9thMalaysia Plan had specifically mentioned the importance of agriculture and its expected annual growth rate of 5% per year. In fact RM11.4 billion had been set-aside under this plan to propel the growth of the agriculture sector. This allocation is 70% more then what was allocated under the 8thMalaysia Plan. Having given so much of initiative the Perak state government is just doing the opposite.

 

Most of the 20-acre agricultural land is very near a lime stone hill thus its not very suitable for housing. In fact is dangerous to residents who build houses very near lime stone hills as many people have been killed when lime stone hills give way.

 

To date the state government has not consulted the affected farmers of their views.

The local assemblyman in 2003 was YB Tan Chee Meng who is now the assemblyman for Kepayang and a state exco member. The present state assemblyman for Bercham is from the BN-MCA. The question is why did the local assemblyman agree to abandon the farmers in favor of the land to be alienated to the SSI? Both assemblymen must state their stand openly on this issue.

 

We urge both of them to speak in the state assembly sitting tomorrow in urging the state government to drop the proposal to develop the 20-acre agriculture land?  

 

The public need answers on the following:

 

1)      Why the SSI failed to consult with the farming people who are residing on the 20-acre land?

2)      Will the farmers be provided with alternative land and or compensation? 

3)      What are the terms and conditions of the joint venture?

4)      Who benefits from this deal and how much?

5)      Was the choice of the private developer done at arms length?

 

(13/04/2006)


*  M.Kula Segaran, MP for Ipoh Barat, and DAP Vice Chairman

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