Restoration efforts to proceed in Cameron Highlands

CAMERON HIGHLANDS: The high level committee on illegal cultivation and restoration of Cameron Highlands have decided to reconsider the over 600 applications from farmers which were previously rejected.

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the Pahang state government had been directed to revise these applications and issue Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL).

These were among the eight proactive measures decided by the committee for the residents and farmers as part of restoration efforts and to address the long standing issues on illegal cultivation and erosion on the highland resort.

Ahmad Zahid who co chaired the second meeting of the committee with Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob here today said economic factors and humantarian grounds will be the focus when vetting the applications.

"The Immigration Department will also issue temporary work permits and E-Kad for illegal workers.

"However for workers who do not possess any documents, the department will work with the employers to obtain the necessary papers from the embassies and high commissions of the country of origin.

"The employers must be responsible to get documentation and cooperate with the state and federal governments," he said.

Ahmad Zahid said the Drainage and Irrigation Department will spearhead a gotong royong with the assistance of the various departments and agencies and the involvement of the community.

""The authorities had found garbage including 4WD vehicles in rivers and other waterways which caused the floods.

"Employers should not think of profits and leave problems behind ... do not take advantage," he added.

The Deputy Prime Minister noted that the state government will look into resettling 28 Orang Asli families living in 13 houses at Sungai Tiang in the Bertam Valley to another site.

"This is part of the flood mitigation project," he added.

Ahmad Zahid said the committee also decided to issue permits to illegal operators currently cultivating 217.3ha of land.

"They have been using the land for the last 30 years," he added.

The National Security Council will be the lead agency with other departments to monitor illegal activities which cause floods and destruction to the environment.