KUANTAN: The eviction of Cameron Highlands farmers operating on temporary occupying lease (TOL) land near Sungai Ichat cannot be avoided, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said.
He said the state government need to ensure that the river was not polluted and people’s health was not affected by any pollution-related issues.
He said that is why it could not give in to requests from the farmers to continue operating at the area.
He added that the state government had decided that matters concerning agriculture land in Cameron Highlands will be handled by the State Secretary Incorporated.
"The State Agriculture Department through the State Secretary Incorporated will be responsible in coordinating and ensuring that farmers in Cameron Highlands practice safe and effective agriculture in line with Malaysian Good Agricultural Practices (myGAP).
"We will be strict with the enforcement as the farmers have already been issued 30 days eviction notice.
“We need to safeguard the environment and ensure continued supply of treated water to cater to the needs of some 70 per cent of the people in Cameron Highlands," he said in his official blog wanrosdy.com.
He was responding to reports over an eviction operation involving farms at Sungai Ichat where the Kuala Terla farmers association had produced a video urging the state government to reconsider its decision on the 30-day eviction notice.
Tanah Rata state assemblyman Chiong Yoke Kong had posted on Facebook that an eviction operation involving 61 farms at Sungai Ichat was carried out by the state government since Feb 25 and the second phase of the eviction will involve 50 farms.
Wan Rosdy dismissed claims that between 250 and 300 families were depending on agriculture activities for their livelihood in Sg Ichat area saying the state government had only issued 50 TOLs for an individual (nominee) or family head but in reality for each TOL issued there was more than one individual, including family members and relatives operating on certain lots.