Perak offers pathway to legitimacy for farmers illegally working state land

John Bunyan
Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu speaks to the press at the State Agricultural Development Corporation of Perak in Ipoh June 30, 2020. — Picture by Farhan Najib

IPOH, June 30 — Perak government is ready to grant amnesty to small-scale farmers cultivating State Agricultural Development Corporation of Perak (SADC) land illegally, said Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.

He said that this will legitimise their activities while generating income for the state and SADC from the rent and lease offered.

“To those who cultivate the land illegally, we urge them to come forward as soon as possible and meet with the SADC, so that we can find a way on how they can do their business legitimately.

“They don’t have to be worried. We will not take back their land. We will provide the same land with a lease. It will be a win-win situation for all,” he told reporters when met at the SADC office here.

“We have heard many farmers who said that they have been cultivating for decades in the said land, but their produce can’t be taxed by the state government and did not bring any profit to SADC.

“And in the end, the state can’t provide proper service to the people due to this and this is not good,” he explained.

Ahmad Faizal said that the government will only impose a rent of RM1,500 per hectare annually for the land involved.

“This will not burden the farmers. The amount is equivalent to RM125 per month.

“The money gathered from this process by the SADC will help to intensify other agriculture projects in the state,” he said.

Ahmad Faizal also pointed out that the state managed to license 1,165.026 hectares of illegally farmed land in 2019 without disruption to the farmers.

“This year, SADC only managed to remit 228.104 hectares of land. This may be due to the movement control order (MCO) imposed to curb the spread of Covid-19 infection.

“At the moment, about 300 farmers have benefited from this process and cultivate legally now,” he said.

He also added that a total of 3,494.7 hectares of land belonging to SADC around Perak has yet to be amnestied and is still illegally cultivated.

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