The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall (KLSCAH) severely condemns the government and law enforcement agencies of Pahang. It recently banned Raub durian farmers from entering orchards and detain farmers under the accusation of trespassing the forest reserves, thereby ignoring the court order. We urge the Pahang police to release the arrested durian farmers immediately.

All law enforcement agencies should rely on court orders issued by the Court of Appeal from January 5, 2021, onwards, that is, until the court hears the relevant case again on July 21, law enforcement must be suspended to allow Raub farmers to freely enter and exit the farmlands without licenses.

The Pahang State Forestry Department, Raub Forestry Department and state police jointly launched large-scale roadblocks on unlicensed farmlands in Raub. In addition to the roadblocks preventing entry into the farmlands, they also cut the durian trees down without notice. Hundreds of durian trees alleged to have been planted in the forest reserve have destroyed these farmers’ years of planting efforts. 19 Raub farmers, including Wilson Chang, president of the Save Musang King Alliance (Samka), went to the police station for clarification. As of today (July 5), the remand order on these arrested farmers has not been released.

It is reported that the 18 detained farmers have been taken to court. The Raub magistrates’ court has ordered a two-day remand after 18 individuals were detained over a scuffle with the state Forestry Department.

The unlicensed durian orchards in Raub have been a thorny issue for a long time. Unlicensed durian farmers in Raub have voluntarily organised a cooperative at the end of 2020, hoping to increase negotiations between the Pahang State Government and the Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP (RPDR-PKPP).

A court order issued by the Court of Appeal on January 5. Since the court order delayed the police remand order, we have not seen any real initiative for negotiation with the unlicensed Raub durian farmers by relevant parties.

In the face of the worsening pandemic, the struggle of these durian farmers who have cultivated for many years is an inhumane act and a cause for unnecessary panic and threats.

Legalities aside, we urge compassion to be shown. As the pandemic is worsening, the hard work of these unlicensed durian farmers must be taken into account.

Relevant authorities should consider the law enforcement criteria and adopt milder law enforcement measures. After all, these durian trees are rooted in the area for a long time and will not hinder the natural ecological restoration.

If the problem of unlicensed farmland cannot be resolved, it means that farmers will enter a long-term conflict with said authorities. It will only hurt both sides in the end, and will not be conducive to the reclamation and durian plantation in the state.

KLSCAH believes that during the retrial of Raub’s unlicensed durian orchards on July 21, there must be no delay of dialogue between the Pahang State government, Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP and the unlicensed durian farmers of Raub. Therefore, we once again appeal to the Pahang State Government to legalise the unlicensed durian farmlands and solve the problem of Raub’s illegal orchards once and for all.

JULY 5, 2021

Source: Sinchew Daily

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