Raub durian farmers released on police bail, mulling further legal action

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Remanded by the authorities yesterday, 18 durian farmers from Raub, Pahang have been released this morning on police bail.

SAMKA

The farmers’ family members were told by an investigation officer at midnight that they could bail out the farmers this morning, said the secretariat of the Save Musang King Alliance (Samka).

The secretariat confirmed that all the detained farmers were released from the Raub police headquarters before 11am.

On a Facebook live video hosted by Samka, the farmers’ lawyer Chan Yen Hui said the farmers will have to report to either a court or the police station on Oct 4, adding that if they fail to do so, their guarantor will be fined RM10,000.

She also said that despite the magistrate allowing for a two-day remand, the farmers were released today after the police finished recording their statements.

DAP Legal Bureau chief Ramkarpal Singh was also at the police station to provide legal assistance to the durian farmers.

During the live broadcast, Ramkarpal said the farmers cooperated well with the police during the investigation.

Hence, he said there is no reason for the remand to be continued.

“We are happy with this development. We will liaise with our clients on what should be the next course to be taken,” said the Bukit Gelugor MP.

He added that a revision application of the remand order issued by the Raub magistrate yesterday will be withdrawn since all the farmers were released today.

Bilut assemblyperson Lee Chin Chen and Tras assemblyperson Chow Yu Hui were also at the police station.

Meanwhile, DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, in a statement yesterday said this issue concerns the livelihood of the durian farmers who have been working the land there for decades.

“The Pahang state government should try to resolve the problem amicably between the large private company and the farmers,” he said.

Yesterday, the court granted a two-day remand order against 18 durian farmers, including a 17-year-old teenager, to facilitate the Forestry Department’s investigations into an alleged trespassing offence.

The Pahang state government has accused them of illegal farming and is attempting to evict them as the state has leased the land to a firm that is planning its own durian plantation there.

The firm, Royal Pahang Durian Resources-PKPP Sdn Bhd (RPDR-PKPP), is a joint venture between the state government and a company linked to the Pahang royalty.

The latest flare-up started when the farmers tried to harvest their produce on the disputed land but were blocked by the Forestry Department and police.

Meanwhile, counsel Siew Choon Jern said a team of lawyers is discussing a number of options even though a hearing has been scheduled on July 21 to appeal against a High Court ruling handed down on Dec 23 last year.

“We are collecting information from the farmers and have also written to the state authorities for clarification,” Siew told FMT.

He said he was perplexed by the action of the state forestry department to enter the land and chop down durian trees.

“It is mind-boggling for the authorities to enter the land when the farmers have obtained an order that will see the status quo remain,” he said.

On Jan 5, the Court of Appeal allowed an interim stay by the farmers pending their appeal to set aside a High Court ruling which refused them leave for judicial review.

This means they can continue to cultivate their land with no interference from the authorities.

Lawyer Brendan Navin Siva had said, “until the disposal of the matter (in the Court of Appeal), it is status quo for the farmers”.


Earlier reports:

Jul 5, Durian farmers remanded, DAP reps in heated argument with police

Jul 5, DAP offers legal assistance to 18 detained Raub durian farmers