MACC Summons Raub Durian Farmers

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Earlier, PAS and Parti Putra Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) lodged reports to call on the MACC to investigate the farmers.

TMI

Save Musang King Alliance (Samka) said today that some 50 unlicensed durian farmers were contacted by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) officers this morning to give their statements from tomorrow.

“About 50 unlicensed durian farmers from Raub were contacted by the MACC in person or by phone this morning. They were summoned to give their statements to the MACC starting tomorrow.

“Samka believes that the motive behind initiating such an action is to create terror among the farmers in order to coerce the farmers to sign the unequal contract with the corporation,” Samka said in a statement.

Samka said that it had appointed lawyers to accompany the farmers who were summoned to the MACC in Raub for questioning from 10am tomorrow.

Samka is currently locked in a fight with the Pahang 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 a 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 also contends that the durian farmers have been planting without a permit, and that a contract with the state-appointed middleman is a way to legalise their operations.

Samka last month protested against a contract with the firm that members said they were forced to sign.

They also contended that the deal offered to them by Royal Pahang Durian was lopsided.

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 variety of the fruit.

Samka said it doubts if MACC’s actions were based on any substantial evidences or due to the influence of certain political parties.

It said that MACC should investigate the farmers based on evidence and that the graft busters should not go on a fishing expedition.

“Earlier on PAS and Parti Putra Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) spoke to the media and lodged reports to call on the MACC to investigate the farmers.

Soon afterwards, the MACC said in a statement that it will begin investigations and now has begun questioning them.

Samka wants MACC to stop harassing the planters without substantial evidence and claims that such harassment has severely impacted the MACC’s credibility, disturbed the farmers’ daily routine and could even cause losses in terms of durian harvests.

“The plan to question about 50 individuals would perhaps make this action the largest raid ever conducted by the MACC. Yet, ridiculously, the MACC’s targets were not the unscrupulous officers with power but farmers who have been working hard,” it said. – TMI