Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail has been urged to resign from his post over the alleged unjust eviction of farmers in Cameron Highlands due to political reasons.
Continuing his criticisms against Wan Rosdy, Penang Deputy Chief Minister II P Ramasamy said it was no longer tenable for the MB to hold on to his post as he did not reveal the truth behind the evictions of the farmers there.
"It has been established beyond doubt that he did not reveal the real truth as to why more than 60 farms had to be demolished to prevent the pollution of Sungei Ichat in Kuala Terla, Cameron Highlands," Ramasamy said in a statement today.
"Since the real reason has not been established in the move against the farmers, Wan Rosdy cannot justifiably continue in his present position as the menteri besar.
"He should resign as soon as possible, before much more embarrassing information is revealed about his cruelty against the innocent farmers.
"Moreover there are grounds to believe that he might have succumbed to political pressure to move against the farmers, who are considered supporters of Pakatan Harapan in the recent Cameron Highlands by-election," Ramasamy said.
According to Wan Rosdy, the farmers were the main source of water pollution in Sungei Ichat, one of the rivers that supply water to residents in Cameron Highlands.
He said his government had no option, but carry on with the enforcement actions against the farms located upstream of Sungai Ichat.
However, according to Ramasamy, who visited the farmers during the weekend, it has been found that the river that supplies water to residents is Sungei Terla, not Sungei Ichat, although both rivers are nearby and merge after some point.
"So, whether Wan Rosdy is aware or not, Sungei Ichat is not the source of water supply to the residents.
"By not admitting this mistake, he might have unwittingly set on the path of the destruction of farms," Ramasamy added.
Malaysiakini has contacted Wan Rosdy over the allegations, but no response has been forthcoming from the Umno leader.
How did they become illegal operators overnight?
Ramasamy also queried how the farmers became the source of problem as they have worked on their agricultural plots for more than 60 years.
They had also obtained temporary licences from the state land authorities until 2017.
"How come all of a sudden the farmers, who have tilled their lands for generations, became illegal operators overnight?" the DAP lawmaker asked.
"Does that mean the Land Department has no record of their activities and why they have been issued with provisional licences to operate their farms?.
"Why the focus on the so-called wrongdoings of small farmers? Why are the well-established plantations left off the hook for massive pollution? Is it because they are much more powerful and well connected?" Ramasamy further queried.
He said a permanent agricultural settlement was already in the making. The farms had good access roads and recently they were given permission to establish their own power station to generate electricity.
"Just because some false reports were made, Wan Rosdy, without proper investigation, ordered the destruction of farms without realising the consequences of the decision on the future of food production in Cameron Highlands," Ramasamy said.
"The state authorities, sad to say, did not display the kind of leadership in engaging the farmers and resolving the problem by giving them alternative land for agriculture."
By consistently insisting the farmers had to go, Ramasamy added, Wan Rosdy has lost his leadership mantle in governing the state in the best possible manner.