Samka Chairman Tells Najib to Stop Politicising Raub Farmers’ Troubles

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Former prime minister Najib Razak should not talk about the Raub durian farmers’ land dilemma if he does not have all the facts, Save Musang King Alliance (SAMKA) chairman Chang Yee Chin.

Chang said instead of trying to resolve the problem, the Pekan MP was politicising and making it a racial issue.

“What is very strange is that when he (Najib) cannot solve a problem, he will incite or bring about a conflict so that the public will (lose sight) of the real issue,” Chang said in a statement today.

Kamal Ariffin/TMI

“Najib deliberately linked agricultural policy issues as well as land issues with racial issues.

“His strategy is to divert attention from the issue of land exploitation by private corporations and the government, and he tries to justify the exploitation and oppression of farmers.”

Najib had taken to Facebook to question why Chang, a DAP member from Kajang, was involved in the affairs of durian farmers in Pahang.

Chang said his being a DAP member was no reason for him not to help the farmers who were of various races.

Chang, who was appointed Kajang councillor in 2018, said he resigned in February to help his parents, who were having health issues, manage their durian farm in Sg. Klau.

“I’m a native of Raub and like other village boys, I studied in SJKC Sungai Lui and SMJK Chung Ching.

“I got to know about DAP when I worked in the city and I joined the Dutamas branch because of its ideology. I was appointed a member of the Kajang council in 2018 because of my caring attitude towards the local community.

“However, in February 2020, due to the elders at my home being unhealthy, I resigned as a council member and returned to the village to ease the burden of my family, especially with the daily work in the durian orchard.

“So I’m willing to lead this campaign not because I am a member of the DAP, but because my friends and I, whether Chinese or Malay, we face the same problem: the government conspiring with the private corporations to seize what we have created,” he said.

Chang said Najib was slandering him and the farmers by claiming they were not willing to negotiate with the Pahang government over the use of state land for farming.

He said they were more than willing to work with the state government but without interference of a middleman, in this case, the private consortium to which the state government has leased the land.

Chang said Najib should be aware that it was his own late father, and second prime minister Abdul Razak Hussein who introduced the Green Book Plan in the 1970s and that the farmers were following the ideas contained therein.

“Since Samka was established, we have repeatedly emphasised that the farmers are always ready to work with the state government. Not only do the farmers want to pay compensation to the state government for the losses incurred, but the farmers also are willing to share some of the profits from durian production with the state government.

“The farmers are also ready to work with the government on the development plan for the durian industry in Pahang as well as water resource management and environmental protection.

“Most likely Najib has never cared about this issue (which is linked to him). In the 1970s, farmers responded to the Green Book Plan drawn up by his late father, Tun Razak, the then prime minister. So, they explored the abandoned land in Raub. Now, the gardeners are accused of being ‘illegal gardeners’ at his instigation,” he said.

On June 24, Pahang awarded the Royal Pahang Durian Group.with the lease and rights to 2,168ha of land in Raub for 30 years, with the option for 30 more.

Royal Pahang Durian Group 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 week protested against a contract with the firm that members said they were forced to sign.

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