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MCA veep blames Harapan over enforcement against illegal farmers

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MCA vice-president Ti Lian Ker has pointed the finger at the Pakatan Harapan-led federal government over enforcement action against illegal farmers in Cameron Highland that saw protests and arrests.

"The move was based on instruction by the federal government to the state government to proceed with Ops Lestari 2 beginning this month, which is another promise broken by Harapan and DAP when the decision was made by the joint committee on Cameron Highlands rehabilitation chaired by the deputy prime minister (Wan Azizah Wan Ismail) and Pahang menteri besar (Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail)," he said in a statement today.

Ti (above) said the enforcement action against farmers who have illegally encroached into a water catchment area near Sungai Ichat went against promises made by Harapan during the Cameron Highlands by-election which BN won on Jan 26.

"Harapan leaders, particularly from the DAP, had promised that the federal government controlled by them will protect the farmers during the Cameron Highlands by-election early this year.

"MCA reminds Wan Azizah about the repeated political promises by Harapan and the DAP to protect and help farmers in Cameron Highlands who are facing eviction action by the state government on the instruction of the Harapan-led federal government.

"It is time that Wan Azizah (photo) takes responsibility and fulfil the promises," he said.

Earlier today, the Pahang government defended the enforcement action.

Pahang state secretary Sallehuddin Ishak said the area has a water plant which supplies clean water to more than 70 percent of the population in Cameron Highlands and the Pahang government won't compromise on its safety.

He also pointed out that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong had previously visited the area and called for an end to illegal encroachment of the water catchment area.

"Following this, the National Security Council meeting chaired by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Oct 14 decided to have the army and police's General Operations Force (GOF) to patrol the area to prevent illegal encroachment.

"Furthermore, the joint-action committee on rehabilitating Cameron Highlands chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Pahang Menteri Besar Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail on Dec 9 agreed for Ops Lestari 2 to proceed along with the deployment of security forces in Cameron Highlands beginning Dec 16," he said.

Sallehuddin added that in order to preserve the area, the Pahang government had on March 13 also gazetted 121.12ha as the Sungai Ichat forest reserve.

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