IPOH, Perak — Farmers from the Kanthan area who are facing the threat of forced eviction from the Perak state government have urged their Tambun MP, also the Prime Minister, Anwar Ibrahim, to intervene to save those who are producing food for the people of Malaysia.
This call was made in a memorandum submitted to the Tambun MP’s office on 19 October.
Also present in solidarity with the Kanthan farmers was Sosialis Parti of Malaysia (PSM) activist R Saratbabu.
Six farmers in Kanthan have received an eviction notice under Section 425 of the National Land Code dated 13 October, instructing them to vacate the farmland they are cultivating within seven days.
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The notice issued by the Kinta district and land office, Ipoh, stated that these farmers occupied land belonging to the Perak State Development Corporation (PKNP) without legal authority.
These farmers have been cultivating vegetables and fruit and rearing fish in the Kanthan area for decades. The relevant government agencies do have knowledge about the existence of these farmers.
Since 2010 these farmers, through the Chemor Modern Farmers Association, have held several discussions and had correspondence with the Perak Land and Mines Office and the Kinta District and Land Office.
Following this, PKNP issued an offer letter dated 21 November 2012 to the Kanthan farmers.
The letter describes the details of the lease of agricultural land owned by PKNP in the Perak Hi-Tech Park area to these farmers. This is two acres of replacement land for a lease period of 30 years, with a rental rate of RM40 per acre per year.
The Perak Hi-Tech Park project was not implemented as scheduled, but after an understanding was reached between PKNP and the Chemor Modern Farmers Association, the Kanthan farmers were allowed to continue cultivating their farm land without being charged any fees by PKNP.
Until today, the farmers in Kanthan are still waiting for PKNP to fulfil its promise to give them replacement land as offered in the offer letter issued on 21 November 2012.
However, the farmers in Kanthan have not only not yet received the offer for the replacement land promised by PKNP; instead an eviction notice was issued, aiming to vacate the land on behalf of PKNP.
These Kanthan farmers have sent a letter, through lawyers, to the authorities, requesting that the eviction notice be cancelled under Section 425 of the National Land Code.
“These agricultural activities are our source of livelihood,” the farmers said in a memorandum to Anwar as the MP for their area. “This forced eviction that leads to the destruction of our crops and livestock will affect our family’s source of income.”
“Moreover, these agricultural activities are not only for the benefit of our family. As is well known, it is important to maintain the country’s food security,” added the Kanthan farmers.
“While presenting the 2024 Budget recently, the prime minister himself encouraged small farmers to optimise land use through food and livestock production. Farmers in the Kanthan area are the main producers of maize in Malaysia. So, if we are chased out, it will affect our country’s food supply.”
These Kanthan farmers are asking for immediate intervention from the PM to stop the forced eviction and the destruction of their vegetable farms. The small farmers who produce food for our people should not be arbitrarily evicted. – PSM