KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 28 — A group of 110 durian farmers in Raub, Pahang today won a small reprieve as the court has ordered that they are not to be evicted from their farms until the court delivers a decision on December 9.
In announcing the latest development, the Save Musang King Alliance (Samka) said the High Court in Kuantan would decide on December 9 on whether to grant leave for the judicial review application filed by the durian farmers.
Today was the hearing date for the durian farmers’ application for leave for judicial review or in other words to seek the court’s nod for the lawsuit to be heard.
The court today ordered for a temporary stay order to be extended, which effectively means that status quo is preserved until the December 9 decision with the durian farmers still able to access their farms.
“The Kuantan High Court decided that the interim stay order against the respondents is continued until December 9, 2020.
“In the meantime, the respondents are prohibited from entering into the farmers’ land or evicting the farmers from the land,” Samka said in its statement today, referring those whom the durian farmers had sued as respondents.
“This is the third small victory for Raub durian farmers and the farmers can temporarily resume operations without interference from the state authorities for one and a half months,” Samka added.
The lawsuit was filed on August 21 by 110 durian farmers from the six Raub villages where Musang King durians are planted — namely in Sungai Ruan, Sungai Chalit, Sungai Klau, Tras, Sungai Chetang and Sang Lee — against five respondents including the Pahang state government, Raub district land administrator, Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Negeri Pahang (PKPP) and Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP Sdn Bhd.
According to Samka, the durian farmers had initiated the lawsuit with the intention of defending their rights, and to put a stop to a private corporation’s alleged bid to seize the fruits of the farmers’ labour and to allegedly grab huge profits without putting in any substantial effort.
Samka today also said that it maintains its position that it welcomes the Pahang state government’s launching of a land legalisation scheme for unlicensed durian farms in Raub, but insisted that the state government should collaborate directly with farmers instead of working with a third party which allegedly plays the role of a middleman through a proposed “rent-seeking” model.
Previously, the High Court had on August 28 also granted a stay order against any enforcement action and eviction of the 110 durian farmers who had filed the lawsuit until October 28 (today), pending its hearing of the farmer’s application for leave for judicial review. This meant the farmers could continue their usual activities in their durian farms for those two months.
This lawsuit is the first class action lawsuit filed by durian farmers in Raub.
On October 23, Samka announced that another group of 94 durian farmers have now also filed for judicial review against the Pahang state government and the private company involved in the matter.
According to Samka, the hearing date for the second group or the 94 farmers’ application for leave for judicial review is November 17.
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