Court to hear Musang King farmers’ challenge of state order

(Twitter pic)

KUANTAN: The High Court here today fixed Oct 28 to hear an application by 111 Musang King durian planters in Raub for a judicial review against a state government order to vacate their farms.

Counsel Siew Choon Jern who is representing all the applicants – from Sungai Ruan, Tras and Sungai Chalit – told reporters this after a proceeding in the chambers of Justice Zainal Azman Ab Aziz.

The application, which was filed last Friday, should have been heard today but senior federal counsel Noor Fadzila Ishak who is representing the respondents named in the application requested for an extension of time to study the attached affidavit.

“We did not object as it is only fair for them to have more time to read it but at the same time, we also applied for a suspension of the order against the parties involved in evicting the durian planters until a decision on today’s application has been made.

“The court allowed our application until the application hearing date (Oct 28) which means durian planters can enter and carry out their daily work on the land which is the subject matter in this case until the given date,” he said.

Siew said his firm would be serving the suspension order on the Raub District and Land Office and the Pahang Forestry Department soon as some planters were afraid to go to their farms as the period for them to vacate the land had expired.

He said all his clients were still prepared to negotiate a settlement as they had been working in the farms, apart from being longtime settlers in the area.

“My clients are not involved in the incident of destroying durian trees as viralled on social media allegedly as a protest against the order and they are prepared to comply with the correct procedure which is through the law and discussion,” he said.

All 111 durian planters filed the application by naming six respondents namely the Raub district land administrator, Pahang forestry director, “state authorities”, Pahang state government, Pahang State Agricultural Development Corporation (PKPP) and Royal Durian Resources PKPP Sdn Bhd.

Apart from seeking a judicial review of the order to vacate the land under the National Land Code 1965 and the National Forestry Act 1984, the applicants also want to obtain a judicial review on the decision of the state government which allegedly gave a lease and land use right to about 2,167 hectares (5,357 acres) to Royal Pahang Durian Resources PKPP Sdn Bhd.

The applicants also want a judicial review of the decision to sub-lease the land involved to them and the mandatory requirement to sell durians to a single entity nominated by Royal Pahang Durian Resources PKPP Sdn Bhd.