PETALING JAYA: The Perak government has offered alternative plots of land to Chemor farmers given 14 days’ notice to clear out their agricultural land which has been granted as gifts to the Perak state soccer team.
A statement issued today by the Perak menteri besar’s office here today said the farmers could rent the land earmarked at a new location in Tanah Hitam, Chemor.
It said the land ownership was currently being transferred from the state government to the Perbadanan Pembangunan Pertanian Negeri Perak (PPPNP).
The statement said the Perak Land and Mines Department had held a series of discussions with all the affected farmers and claimed an understanding had been reached with them.
It stated that more than 24,000ha of land owned by the state and government-linked companies had been encroached upon throughout Perak over several decades.
It said this had disrupted development projects, affordable housing schemes, economic activities and Perak’s efforts to attract investors.
“The Perak government is committed to solving the issue of squatters and illegal activities on state land.
“At the same time, we will assist small-time farmers to continue their agricultural activities legally by renting land from the state and state GLCs at affordable rates.”
The statement said the state government did not intend to take any legal action against these illegal farmers even though they had been carrying out agricultural activities without paying anything to the state for more than 50 years.
Yesterday, a group of seven farmers from Chemor said the government was taking back the land they had been cultivating for four to five decades. Their cultivated land will be presented to the Perak football team.
The farmers urged the football team to come to their rescue after they received eviction notices to vacate the land from the state authorities.
In an open letter, the farmers — who cultivate 2-5 acres (0.8ha to 2ha) each — said their families had been tilling the land in Ulu Chemor, Hulu Kinta, and it was their only source of income.
They said they were shocked when they received the notice from the Kinta Land Office on July 5, ordering them to move out within 14 days or risk a RM500,000 fine or a jail term of up to five years.
On May 3, Menteri Besar Ahmad Faizal Azumu had announced that the 39 Perak footballers and officials will be granted land for winning the Malaysia Cup final last year against Terengganu.