Fish breeders in troubled waters They are anxious over unclear status of land and newly imposed monthly rental
By FOONG PEK YEE
HOPE turns to despair for a group of ornamental fish breeders who had invested their money on a piece of land within the aquaculture industrial zone in Gopeng, about 15km from Ipoh.
They had upgraded their farms after being told by the Perak Economic Planning Unit (Upen) during a dialogue last June that the land they had toiled for decades came under the zone.
Of late, however, the fish breeders had been approached by certain people, claiming the land earmarked for oil palm plantation belonged to a company.
“And they must pay a monthly rental of RM500 per 0.4ha if they want to continue with their fish farms,” said Gopeng Ornamental Fish Breeders Association secretary Chong Lai San during an open hearing on land issues in Ipoh on Thursday.
The hearing, first in a series, was conducted by Perak executive councillor Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon, also the chairman of a special panel under the Perak Government to resolve land issues in the state.
Those at the hearing included MCA president and Perak MCA chairman Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, Upen director Datuk Abu Bakar Said and Perak Fisheries Department director Sani Mohd Isa.
Chong said the “unclear status” of the land, located behind New Kopisan, Gopeng, had affected nine fish breeders with a total land size of some 32.37ha.
“The breeders are in shock now.
“Apart from the anxiety over their investments and their future, they definitely cannot afford to pay the monthly rental of RM500 per 0.4ha,” he said when highlighting the breeders’ plight.
Chong proposed that the state make it clear about the zone’s status.
He stressed that the fish breeders were only applying for state-owned land, and they wanted to know the status of the land now since they had been told last year that it came under the zone.
Upen had announced three such zones in Gopeng — Lawan Kuda, Sungei Itek and the one behind New Kopisan. The fish breeders in Lawan Kuda do not encounter problems on the gazette while those who face problems are in Sungei Itek and New Kopisan.