Felda settlers warned they could lose land ownership for planting ketum

PADANG BESAR (Sept 30): Settlers under the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) schemes could be stripped of their land ownership if they remain adamant and continue to plant ketum trees.

The Felda Land Management Department’s Inheritance Unit head, Mohd Yassin Mohd Yusof said it would not hesitate to take action if the problem continues.

“Stripping of their land ownership can be done through court action for planting trees like ketum, which is prohibited under the Land (Group Settlement Areas) Act 1960,” he told reporters at the Mata Ayer Felda scheme during an integrated operation of cutting down ketum trees involving the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM) and Perlis Department of Land and Mines, here, today.

Mohd Yassin said for now, Felda was only advising the settlers not to plant ketum and cuttng down of the trees to create awareness.

He said felling of ketum trees at the Felda settlements would be extended nationwide involving 317 schemes and about 2.5 million settlers and their heirs.

Meanwhile, Perlis police chief Datuk Surina Saad who was also involved in the operation, said 200 to 250 ketum trees were chopped down in the Mata Ayer Felda scheme today.

“Within a month we will extend this operation to two other Felda schemes, namely Chuping and Rimba Emas, with an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 ketum trees to be chopped down,” she said.

Surina hoped the effort could reduce the smuggling of ketum leaves to 40% with the drop in demand after this.

She said, meanwhile, PDRM and the other relevant agencies were holding discussions on coordinating authority in extensively destroying ketum trees in the state.

“We hope the other states will undertake the same effort in combating the smuggling and abuse of ketum in this country,” she added.

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