Eighteen Raub durian farmers released on police bail today

KUALA LUMPUR : The 18 Musang king durian farmers who were detained and remanded for a period of two days in Raub, Pahang yesterday were released on police bail this morning (July 6).

Bukit Gelugor Member of Parliament (MP) Ramkarpal Singh said he and his legal team represented the 18 farmers today at the Raub district police station and they were all released at 11am.

“It is obvious that the original period of four days that was applied for the said remand was unnecessary as statements were taken from all of the said durian farmers in a short time and furthermore, they had always been cooperative with the authorities.

“As announced by DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, the DAP National Legal Bureau will continue to assist the said durian farmers and Tras assemblyman Chow Yu Hui, who was briefly detained under Section 186 of the Penal Code for obstruction of a public servant in the discharge of his functions,” he said in a statement today.

Ramkarpal said the matter is of considerable importance as the livelihoods of the farmers are at stake and ought to be defended.

Bernama reported that the 18, who are between the ages of 17 to 60, were remanded until today to assist in investigations by the Pahang Forestry Department into allegations of encroachment into the Batu Talam Permanent Forest Reserve in Raub to plant Musang King durians.

They were alleged to have planted durian trees at the forest reserve. Bernama reported that DAP politicians, among them Raub MP Tengku Zulpuri Shah Raja Puji, Bentong MP Wong Tack, Bilut assemblyman Lee Chin Chen and Chow, were at the Raub Court Complex yesterday.

The police also confirmed that Sungai Pelek assemblyman Ronnie Liu is being investigated for obstruction of a public officer and breaching the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for allegedly crossing the state into Raub.

On Jan 5, the Court of Appeal granted a stay for some 204 Musang King Raub durian farmers from being evicted from their plantations pending the full appeal being heard in the appellate court.

The stay was granted by a three-member bench led by Justice Datuk Yaakob Md Sam, with the other two judges being Justices Datuk S Nantha Balan and Datuk M Gunalan.

The decision followed the Kuantan High Court on Dec 23 where Justice Datuk Zainal Azman Ab Aziz dismissed the planters’ judicial review application on the grounds that they should not have applied for a judicial review as the eviction notice issued by a land administrator is not something that could be reviewed in court, and the court also found that the farmers had trespassed on the land.

The farmers are applying for an interim stay preventing the Pahang authorities from encroaching land in or around Sungai Ruan, Sungai Chalit, Sungai Klau and Tranum, Gali, Sang Lee, Kampung Sungai Chetang, Tras, Mukim Tras, all within the Raub district, and the Gunung Benom Forest Reserve where the durian trees are planted.

By : Hafiz Yatim – THE EDGE MARKETS

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