PETALING JAYA: A Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader says menteris besar and chief ministers are being given vast powers on land matters in their states, and such powers are detrimental in keeping Malaysia’s food security intact as farmlands are being cleared.
PSM central committee member Rani Rasiah said these chief ministers are often given the positions of executive councillor on land development and head of state economic development authorities.
“A lot of the land goes to the state economic development body which would then decide what to do with them, such as selling them to developers for purposes other than food production,” she said at a “Save the Democracy and Uphold the Rule of Law” webinar organised by Aliran yesterday.
“This results in the eviction of farmers, which is bad for food security.”
Rani proposed the setting up of a board comprising the state government, opposition assemblymen, civil society groups and farmers in each state as an alternative to concentration of land development powers in the hands of the state executives.
She said PSM would be campaigning for such food security reform in the coming general election (GE15), as only 4% to 5% of agricultural land in the country was being used for food production.
Previously, PSM had questioned why farmers in Perak who had been operating on state land for a long time had been evicted by the state government despite the food security crisis faced by the country.
PSM chairman Dr Michael Jayakumar Devaraj said the farmers had been contributing to the state’s food security for decades even before Merdeka.
The state government reportedly offered the farmers hill land as a replacement, but this was turned down because the land was not suitable for farming.