Durian Farmers’ Alliance Refutes MACC Chief, Insists Members Were Called In

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The Save Musang King Alliance (Samka) has refuted Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Azam Baki’s claim that graft-busters have not summoned durian farmers in Raub, Pahang, for allegedly running illegal farms.

In a statement, Samka said about 30 unlicensed farmers had gone to the MACC’s office in Raub to give their statement today.

“Azam Baki said the MACC did not summon any unlicensed durian farmers from Raub to give statements. Samka is surprised and refutes his remarks that are inconsistent with the facts.

“Starting 10am today, about 30 unlicensed durian farmers accompanied by 4 lawyers, arrived at the Raub MACC and took turns to give their statements.

A photo released by the Save Musang King Alliance showing durian farmers at the Raub MACC office today.

“Until noon, five farmers have completed giving statements. Both durian farmers and the MACC officers gave their full cooperation during the entire process,” the group said.

Earlier today, Azam denied that unlicensed farmers would be summoned to the MACC today.

“The issue is false. We do not know who created it.

Hari Anggara

“As of Monday (Sept 14), I was informed that we did not summon the 50 farmers as reported by certain media,” he told reporters.

But he did say investigations have been opened by Pahang MACC on alleged abuse of power in the land encroachments.

Samka said MACC should stop calling the farmers immediately if there was a communication breakdown.

“If the facts are as stated by the MACC chief commissioner, whereby MACC has never summoned any durian farmer, then the authorities should immediately stop all questioning and summoning processes to avoid creating white terror and unnecessary inconvenience,” it said.

A photo released by the Save Musang King Alliance showing durian farmers at the Raub MACC office today.

Yesterday, Samka said that some 50 unlicensed durian farmers were contacted by MACC officers to have their statements recorded.

Samka is currently locked in a dispute with the state government, which had awarded the lease and rights to 2,168ha of land in Raub for 30 years, with an option for another 30, to joint venture company Royal Pahang Durian.

Royal Pahang Durian is a joint venture between Royal Pahang Durian Resources (RPDR) and the state government’s Perbadanan Kemajuan Pertanian Negeri Pahang (PKPP).

The firm was set up to purportedly curb encroachment on state land for the cultivation of durians.

The state said the durian farmers do not have permits, and that a contract with the state-appointed middleman is a way to legalise their operations.

Samka said the deal was lopsided, and that farmers were coerced to sign.

The farmers, whose orchards are in Kg Sg Ruan, Sg Chalit and Sg Klau, have been granted an injunction to stay an eviction notice issued by the state.

However, the state-backed consortium has said that the durian growers stand to make a handsome profit from its proposal to pay them RM30 per kg for the musang king grade A fruit.