IPOH, Dec 5 — A durian farmer has scoffed at the idea of planting durian trees at a cemetery reserve in Panorama Tambun Perdana (The Dales) in Tambun.

SL Teoh said Tambun was known to be a pomelo haven and planting durian trees in this area was practically unheard of.

“The soil there is just not suitable for durian planting,” said Teoh, who has over 30 years of experience tending to durian trees.

He was commenting on a proposal to start a durian plantation at the foothill of Gunung Panjang in Tambun. Residents in Panorama Tambun Perdana (The Dales) are up in arms, following land clearing activities on the foothill of Gunung Panjang, which is next to their homes.

Teoh, who owns a 4ha durian farm at Tanjung Tualang in Batu Gajah, said to get durian trees that can bear good fruit, the soil needed to be deep and well-drained.

“If a farmer insists on planting them at the cemetery reserve, the durians may not turn out the way they are expected to,” he said.

Teoh, a former vegetable farmer, said some types of fruits are only suitable to be planted in certain areas.

“It is the same as planting papaya trees in Cameron Highlands … the weather and soil there is unsuitable for papaya trees,” he said.

Residents have expressed concern that the land clearing activities would trigger a rock fall, landslide or flash flood because of the close proximity of the housing area to the limestone hill.

Another resident in the area, who declined to be named, said in his eight years living there, he had never seen a durian tree on the hill.

“The area where the contractor is clearing is on a slope. How is it suitable to plant durian trees?” he asked.

Residents’ spokesman Wong Pek Yin said the contractor and the landowner visited the site yesterday morning.

“We still harbour hope the project would be called off,” she said.

While the residents do not plan to take legal action, Wong said, the final step they will take is by seeking an audience with the Sultan of Perak.

“People’s lives are at stake. We just simply can’t wait for a tragedy to occur,” she said.

It was reported that this was the second time such clearing activity has taken place in the area.

In February 2011, a contractor who rented the cemetery reserve from the owner to start a herb farm, cleared the land.

Residents, however, found out that the land was not used for planting herbs. Instead the contractor was mining the area to remove the iron ore found in the hill.

-The Malay Mail Online