KUALA SELANGOR: A group of 50 disgruntled residents of Ladang Hopeful, Bestari Jaya here, is demanding that the Selangor government give back the 17-hectare land that they have been farming on for 30 years.
They said the parcels of land meant a lot to the poor community here, who solely relied on their oil palm plantation and vegetable and livestock farming to earn a livelihood.
They claimed that 21 plots of land from the area have been sold to six different private companies that carried the same mailing address.
Armed with documents, which claim to prove the alleged misappropriation, they gathered at Ladang Hopeful, demanding an explanation from the state government who had offered grants to third party individuals, who had then sold the lands to private companies.
An original settler, Sariat Kadot said the residents had been working on the land since 1986 and had appealed to the state government for grants, but their pleas were ignored.
“The opposition-led state government had sold our lands to outsiders, who sold them off to six private companies.
“We were not given any notices about this. We were shocked when we learned that the companies had sent their workers to cut off all oil palm trees on the land since Jan 17.
“I have shed enough tears thinking about our fate. We have lost our source of income. And what are we to eat now? We are the original settlers. How can they treat us inhumanely?” he told reporters when met at the Hutan Simpan Raja Musa (Parit 6), Bestari Jaya, here today.
Sariat said the state government had initially placed a caveat on the acres of land before they were bought over by outsiders in 2016.
“Once they were privately-owned lands, they were sold to six different companies under the same address along Diamond Square, Jalan Gombak, Kuala Lumpur, last year,” he added.
Bakir Mat Juda, 84, wept when he said his land was his only source of income that the state government unjustly took away.
“That is where we plant and nurture our crops. Recently, I was taken aback when I walked over only to find my trees have all been chopped off. I could not think of anything else to do. This is what I have been doing for years.”
Meanwhile, Permatang assemblyman Datuk Sulaiman Abdul Razak said he would wait for a response from Selangor Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali before taking further action.
“We are also waiting for a response from the district office. They have to explain and clarify issues pertaining the caveat and issuance of grants.
“We will give them two days to respond, otherwise I will raise this issue during the state assembly sitting,” he said, adding that he would also gather the affected planters and farmers for a meeting with the companies involved to seek a solution to this.
Sulaiman said although it might be hard to regain the land since it is now private-owned, he hopes that the matter can be resolved.