From Hong Kong to Singapore, durian lover often chose the Mao Shan Wang or “Civet Cat King” cultivar, also called Musang King in Malaysia, where it is grown. The fruit is so well liked that buyers in Hong Kong readily pay up to HK$400 (S$70) for a kilogram of the fruit. Raub, deep in the central Malaysian state of Pahang, has become synonymous with Musang King thanks to the large number of older cultivar trees the area is home to.
But while there is great pride in Pahang about being home to these popular durians, the frenzy of harvest season has also exposed the ugly local land tussles that have sprouted as a result of the increasingly lucrative Musang King industry.
Pahang, also the home state of Malaysia’s current king Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, last year made the headlines as durian farmers took a state-backed consortium to court over a proposal to address illegal farming.
The country’s second highest court weighed in on the matter in January, granting 204 small hold farmers a stay from eviction and giving them the de facto green light to continue cultivating pending a full hearing on their dispute with the Royal Pahang Durian Group and other associated agencies.