Raub MP Chow Yu Hui today said that unlicensed durian farmers in the district are victims of state crime, adding that it is their human right to be given permits to cultivate the lands.
He said durian farmers who have been planting without permits should not be considered encroaching as they have been doing so since the 1970s, with encouragement from the state government.
Chow, from Pakatan Harapan, then suggested that the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) review the issue from a human rights perspective to advocate for justice on their behalf.
"These farmers are victims of state crime," he said during a debate of the Suhakam annual report.
"Although they were encouraged to engage in farming activities and cultivate the Musang King as a leading international brand, their contributions were never recognised.
"The farmers have been constantly applying for land titles and licenses through propel channels but are rejected or ignored by the state authorities."
Kulim Bandar Baharu MP Roslan Hashim then interjected and said that unauthorised cultivation on state government lands is an encroachment.
"I don't think that falls under human rights.
"It is an encroachment," Roslan, from Perikatan Nasional, said, asking Chow to correct his statement earlier.
Chow, however, disagreed with the opposition MP's "perception", saying that the durian farmers have been cultivating the lands for decades.
"What they (the opposition) perceive is one thing, but they (durian farmers) have been cultivating the lands for decades.
"It is their human right to obtain land titles and licenses," he said.