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Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Ladang Tennamaram settlers demand answers from Selangor govt


A group of 100 settlers at Ladang Tennamaram in Tanjung Karang, Selangor today held a protest and demanded answers from the state government over a lease given to two private companies to conduct works at the plantation.

They claimed that the Pakatan Harapan-led state administration did not hold any discussion with the settlers before giving the lease to the 800-acre land area which they had settled in and worked on for the past 40 years.

R Logarajan, one of the community leaders present, told reporters they only learnt the land had been leased to private companies when the latter's workers started building a road into the plantation about seven months ago.

"We only knew that the state government had given this land to the companies recently.

"There was no discussion, no notice whatsoever. The companies came here and just built the road. We were not consulted or engaged," he said.

Logarajan, who is also an MIC leader for the area, said the settlers are worried about their future if they get kicked out from the land.

This was because the community has reached its third generation and they depend on the land as a home and earn their income through selling oil palm and growing vegetables.

K Siva, another representative of the protesters, said settlers can still come into the plantation to collect their crops for the time being.

"However, they (the companies) said that when the road they are building goes into the areas where our trees are planted, they will demolish the crops and we cannot go into the area anymore.

"We expect that they may start doing this as soon as next week," Siva claimed.

Lease went to newly set up companies

This morning, the protesters were joined by Tanjung Karang MP Noh Omar and Deputy Federal Territories Minister Edmund Santhara Kumar Ramanaidu, who expressed their concern over the lease given by the Selangor state government.

Tanjung Karang MP Noh Omar

According to the politicians in their speech to the crowd and media members, the state had allegedly given a 21-year lease to two newly set up private companies to conduct agricultural work.

Noh claimed the companies were set up in July 2018, only two months before they were given the lease by the state government.

"Not only that, this 'robber' of a state government gave the lease to two companies that share the same address and are run by the same people.

"These companies were incorporated in 2018, and two months after, they already got 800 acres of land. Is this fair?" asked Noh.

The Selangor Umno chief also questioned the intention of the companies, whether they genuinely planned to conduct agricultural works in the area.

"A report has been lodged by the settlers to MACC, and I will personally follow up on this matter. We want MACC to take action.

"How come a two-month-old company can be given such land? Is there something amiss going on?" Noh asked.

Santhara in his speech said he would also take up the matter and fight for the settlers.

"I have read the facts and documents in this case. This is totally unfair to the settlers who have been here for three generations.

"From the way I see it, there is something not right in this case. And I agree with Tan Sri (Noh) that we will follow up on this with MACC.

"This is the problem of the rakyat, the problem of the B40 group. This is their only source of income. They should be given assistance," he added.

Malaysiakini has reached out to the office of Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari and state executive councillor in charge of agriculture affairs Izham Hashim for comments.

An aide to Amirudin said they have taken note of the request and were in the process of gathering responses to the issue, while Izham said he would check on the matter. - Mkini

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