KAMPAR: The state government has set up a special committee to resolve the problems of squatters and illegal occupation of government land in Perak which has been going on for decades.
Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said the special committee was established early last year to look into the issue as the state government is suffering huge losses due to widespread illegal farming on government land throughout the state.
“Through this committee, we can identify government land as well as government land that has been approved for state government-linked companies (GLC) to develop but has been illegal occupied by farmers.
“The problem has been going on for decades as the trees in such illegal farms are already more than 10 years ago, so obviously the problem has been there for a long time and should be resolved,” he said.
He was speaking at a media conference after opening Phase 1 of Kampar Business Centre at Terminal 1 @ Kampar here today.
Phase 1 of the project which began operation on December 1 last year comprised stage bus terminal, with parking bays for cars and buses as well as designated areas for taxis.
Commenting further, Ahmad Faizal said the committee chaired by him is made up of district officers, Perak state GLCs, government corporations and agencies would identify land which has been occupied illegally.
In this regard, he said the first meeting of the committee held on Tuesday had decided on 12 cases and many more cases would be studied to combat illegal farming.
“Enforcement and methods of legitimising such trespassers would be studied in the committee and all government agencies should cooperate in handling the issue,” he said.
Ahmad Faizal said he took a serious view of small farmers who were forced to occupy government land for farming for their survival.
“These are poor people, so we must look into their needs regardless of their race or religion. The government will look into their problems and some may have to relocate to more suitable areas.
“At the same time, we cannot continue to allow vacant land to be occupied illegally as we have laws. If they depended on farming for their livelihood, we will help, this is the approach of the new government,” he said. — Bernama