Why force Musang King durian farmers out when court has yet to decide on appeal, group asks Raub land office

Ashman Adam
·3-min read
A group representing Musang King durian farmers in Raub, Pahang today decried the district land office’s attempt to evict them ahead of their court appeal. — Picture from Facebook/Save Musang King Alliance
A group representing Musang King durian farmers in Raub, Pahang today decried the district land office’s attempt to evict them ahead of their court appeal. — Picture from Facebook/Save Musang King Alliance

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — A group representing Musang King durian farmers in Raub, Pahang today decried the district land office’s attempt to evict them ahead of their court appeal.

The Save Musang King Alliance (Samka) claimed durian farmers in the area had been issued a red notice dated December 21, 2020 to leave their orchards by January 4 as they do not have valid permits to work on the land.

It claimed a similar notice had been issued by the state investment arm, Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Negeri Pahang (PKPP), last December 1.

“The land ownership case is currently at the Court of Appeal,” Samka said in a statement last night.

“As such, the Raub Land Office and PKPP should not act as it wishes,” it added.

According to Samka, 204 Musang King durian farmers from six villages in Raub had filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal after the High Court dismissed its earlier lawsuit against the state in which it sought a judicial review of 5,753 acres of land to a company known as the Pahang Royal Durian Group (RPD).

The group said the case is scheduled for case management on January 5 and claimed neither the district land office nor the company should prevent the farmers from entering their orchards pending a decision.

Samka said the durian farmers had heard rumours of a blockade that will be set up on January 4 to prevent them from reaching the orchards from next week.

“As the date of the red notice gets closer, officers from various government offices could be seen patrolling the durian orchards this past week,” it claimed.

It said 49 durian farmers filed a complaint against this at the Sungai Ruan police station in Raub yesterday.

“We have no problems with the state government’s policy to legalise the durian farms. We urge the state government to send representatives into the six Musang King villages in Raub to negotiate with the farmers so that we can come to an understanding. They should not only hear from RPD as this will lead to one-sided decisions,” Samka said.

The land dispute in Raub made headlines last year after the Pahang government sought to reclaim the land occupied by the farmers for large scale cultivation of Malaysia’s iconic Musang King durian.

The first suit was filed on August 21, 2020, 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 state government, Raub district land administrator, PKPP and Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP Sdn Bhd.

Last August 28, the High Court granted a stay till October 28 against any enforcement action and eviction of the 110 durian farmers pending hearing of the judicial review leave application.

A second group of 94 durian farmers later filed for judicial review against the state government and the private company, raising the number of applications in the suit to 204 — all represented under Samka.

However, the High Court rejected the judicial review application last December 23, ruling that all 204 farmers were trespassers on state land.

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