Raub Farmers Will Make up Pahang’s Losses but Want Middleman Out

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Beleaguered durian farmers in Raub are willing to make monetary compensation to the Pahang government for its losses – provided a state-appointed consortium tasked with negotiations over a land dispute is removed from the picture.

The farmers who have banded together in the Save Musang King Alliance (Samka) said they would cooperate with the state government without middleman Royal Pahang Durian Group (RPDG).

Samka said the farmers offer to make up for the state government’s losses by paying back all the unpaid taxes from previous years, as well as share their future profits to increase the state government’s revenue.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

“The farmers are still ready to work with the state government in all sincerity to solve the issue of unlicensed farms, on the precondition that it must completely halt the private corporation’s involvement in this issue,” it said in a statement today.

“This is due to concerns that the private corporation’s involvement does not merely exploit the farmers, but that the state government’s revenue could also be reduced as the hidden and ultimate agenda of the private corporation is to profiteer from this whole scheme.

“Samka reiterates that the farmers are willing to pay for the state government’s losses, including paying land taxes that were not collected in previous years.

“In future, farmers are also willing to pay land taxes continuously to the state government, and to even share part of their profits with the state government for the purposes of profit-sharing and increasing the state government’s revenue.”

Samka is responding to Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail’s warning that there would be no compromise with farmers who were illegally occupying state land.

However, the state government would not enforce an eviction order against the farmers until the disposal of their suit, he said.

Samka reminded the state that it had denied farmers in Raub the chance to do things by the book when it rejected their applications to cultivate the land.

“The government should not forget history which shows that Raub farmers started cultivating their land in the 1970s under the Green Book Programme. The farmers were encouraged to cultivate unused land in order to be self-sufficient.

“However, many applications made by the farmers to farm legally were subsequently rejected, thus leaving farmers stranded as they could only continue farming on their so-called ‘illegal land’.

“Therefore, the state government should not treat the farmers as criminals by misleadingly labelling them ‘illegal farmers’,” it said.