KUANTAN, Dec 28 — There is no issue of rising prices of agricultural products from Cameron Highlands because the land rental of RM4,500 a year does not have a significant impact on the profits of farmers and middlemen, said Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail.
He said the rental rate had been reviewed and was in line with the current situation and did not burden farmers in the tourist hotspot.
“The RM900 rental for one acre (0.4 hectare) of land per year is the rate for the temporary occupation licence (TOL) and does not include taxes and other payments, while RM4,500 per acre for land per year is inclusive of the overall charges and payments.
“The payment of RM4,500 per year (RM375 per month) is lower compared to the private land rental rate of RM12,000 to RM14,000 per acre of land a year,” he said in a post on his Facebook page today.
He said this to comment on a report by a foreign news agency claiming that there may be an increase in vegetable prices from Cameron Highlands following the rental rate set by the state government.
According to Wan Rosdy, the payment can also be made in installments four times a year to Pahang Corporation Sdn Bhd.
“The RM4,500 will be used by the Pahang government for state development, especially in efforts to restore the environment which has been severely affected by agricultural activities carried out over the years.
“The 3 + 2 rental method introduced is also taken into consideration after farmers voiced their grievances that the previous TOL rental method was difficult because they had to renew their land tenure licence every year,” he explained.
In fact, Wan Rosdy said there was no issue of difficulty in getting financing from banks because the state government was informed that banking institutions such as AgroBank and Maybank agreed with the terms of the latest rental method.
He said the state government was open to criticism from any party, but the opinions and criticism should be based on facts.
On November 19, State Agriculture, Agro-based Industries and Biotechnology Committee chairman, Datuk Seri Mohd Soffi Abd Razak reportedly said that Pahang Corporation Sdn Bhd set the rental rate of agricultural land at RM4,500 per acre (0.4 hectare) per year to farmers in Cameron Highlands. — Bernama