Farmers who formerly paid only RM900 to obtain a temporary occupation licence (TOL) now have to fork out RM4,500 an acre per year and this will pose burden on consumers.
The increase of the land lease pricing in Cameron Highlands to RM4,500 per 0.4ha a year from the RM900 under the temporary occupation licence (TOL) will pose a great burden on consumers.
Former deputy agriculture and agro-based industry minister Sim Tze Tzin (PKR – Bayan Baru) said farmers working on such lands would then be forced to increase the price of vegetables and the brunt would be borne by consumers.
“When the cost is increased, farmers will have to increase the price of vegetables too and this burden will then be passed on to our consumers.
“Are Malaysians ready to eat expensive vegetables? This will affect our food security because food price will be expensive too,” he told a press conference at the parliament today.
Sim said farmers who formerly paid only RM900 to obtain a temporary occupation licence (TOL) now have to fork out RM4,500 an acre per year and this will pose burden on consumers.
On Monday, Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail said the state government will not budge from the implementation of the new lease scheme due to pressing need to resolve issues that have been plaguing the area such as farmers who illegally encroach on public land risking the environment.
He was also in January quoted as saying that vegetable farmers in Cameron Highlands who were operating under the TOL status on a yearly basis can now enjoy renting land for three years in a row with a maximum of three acres of land.
Farmers among others would need to acquire the Malaysian Good Agricultural Practice (MyGAP) with 30 months of their application to be eligible for the land lease registration.
After three years, farmers are also eligible to continue the lease for an additional two years.
Seremban MP Loke Siew Fook said under the new policy, small-time farmers will need to rent their land from a state agency called Pahang Corporation Sdn Bhd.
He said the farmers will also need to meet several tough criteria for them to renew their leases.
”It would be a heavy financial burden on them. Also, the criteria are very difficult for them to fulfil.
“The farmers are already facing huge problems since March because of the movement control order.
“A lot of their produce could not be transported out as a result,” he said after receiving a memorandum from the Cameron Highlands farmers at Parliament today.
Tanah Rata assemblyman Chiong Yoke Kong, who sent the memorandum called on Pahang state government to review the land lease price.
Chiong said as of now, Cameron Highlands farmers were already facing various challenges due to high operating costs and the lack of workforce, and the new increase in land lease price would further burden the small-time farmers.
“Farmers in Cameron Highlands are not big-time farmers who own 50 acres (20ha) of land. They only operate on two (0.8ha) or three (1.2ha) acres or the maximum is five acres (2ha).
“I hope YB (Loke) will bring up this issue in the Dewan Rakyat so that the voice of Cameron Highlands farmers will be heard. I hope this issue will be allowed to be discussed and debated in the Parliament,” he said.
When asked if the farmers have voiced their concerns to the Pahang state government prior to requesting for federal government intervention, Chiong claimed the farmers were ignored by the state administration.