As the rightful owner of a 1469-acre land in Mukim Belanja, earmarked for a new mixed development township, Menteri Besar Incorporated (MB Inc) advised illegal commercial squatters to move out during a media briefing on Thursday, June 4 at the Perak Techno Trade Centre, Ipoh.

Spokesman for MB Inc, Harris Iskandar Taib said besides delaying the state project, known as Bandar Tasik Amanjaya, the action of the 15 squatters had deprived 1000 families of the opportunity to own new houses. Present at the briefing was Farouq Sahibjahn, the chief of the Group Strategic Communications and Relations of Amanjaya Holdings and Ventures.

“To make matters worse, some of them have rented out parcels of the land as a source of income,” Harris lamented.

When fully completed, Bandar Tasik Amanjaya will include residential, commercial and educational institutions, aimed not only at providing affordable homes, but generating business opportunities and employment for the people of Perak.

During the media briefing, a slideshow was presented to show the plot sizes occupied by the illegal farmers. For instance, corn farming occupied approximately the size of 38 football fields while large scale fish breeding ponds occupied approximately the size of 140 football fields.

Under the National Land Code, squatters risk being fined up to RM10,000 and/or one year imprisonment for illegally occupying government or state-owned land, mining land or reserve land. They also risk a RM250 per day compound by the relevant local authorities if found to be conducting their businesses illegally.

On the flip side, lawyer and human rights activist, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan will represent eight of the squatters from Tronoh who are facing litigation over the land issue.

The former Bar Council President took up the case because it concerned food security and the rights of the eight who had toiled the land for a living for over four decades but were now considered squatters and faced eviction by the state authorities.

Mei Kuan