TAPAH, July 7 — The Perikatan Nasional (PN) government has given assurance to give undivided support to efforts to revive Felda and enable the agency to emerge stronger than ever before.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the efforts will also enable Felda to create greater success stories in future.
“I want to give assurance to all Felda settlers that the Perikatan Nasional government under my leadership will continue giving our undivided support to the efforts to revive Felda so that it will emerge stronger than ever before.”
Muhyiddin said this when launching the national-level Felda Settlers’ Day 2020 celebration at the Felda Trolak Mara Junior Science College (MRSM) in Sungkai near here today.
As a preliminary measure to strengthen Felda’s financial position, the prime minister said, he has directed the setting up of a special team to address Felda issues chaired by Bursa Malaysia non-executive chairman Tan Sri Abdul Wahid Omar.
“This team is working on identifying the best way to ensure the financial viability of Felda that will benefit the entire settler community,” Muhyiddin said.
The team, he said, will present him with a report soon.
Muhyiddin said he realised that Felda is in a difficult position right now, but he appreciates its significant contribution to national development from the time the federal land development authority was set up 64 years ago.
He said the key successes of Felda were to eradicate poverty, improve the country’s commodities’ yield and raise the living standard of the people, especially those in the rural areas.
Muhyiddin also spoke of the government’s efforts to enable Felda to explore new areas that ensure a better life for all Felda settlers who have been hitherto cultivating oil palm and rubber.
He said the government is implementing the Felda New Model, including the Settlers Development Programme, to garner new revenue, manage plantations through the strengthening of the Felda cooperatives and use the latest technology in smart agriculture.
The primary objective of the new model is to assist settlers to derive additional lucrative income through other high-value crop and livestock projects and no longer rely entirely on the yields of oil palm and rubber which are up against uncertain prices, he said.
The prime minister said the pilot project of the Settlers Development Programme in Felda Bukit Rokan, Negeri Sembilan, which started in November last year, has shown remarkable achievement and directly benefitted over 300 settlers.
“This successful pilot project will serve as a model for implementation in all Felda schemes in the country, involving nearly 31,000 settlers,” he said.
Muhyiddin said Felda has tremendous potential to become one of the country’s leading producers of food and guarantee a stable supply of food as it owns extensive arable land.
He said he wants to see Felda, in addition to being the country’s leading producer of commodities, rise as a catalyst and leader of a large-scale food industry by driving plantation activities based on smart agriculture as well as innovative downstream activities.
The government, he said, will continue to help create entrepreneurs from among the Felda community, and the authority, in collaboration with Universiti Putra Malaysia, will identify 15 high-value entrepreneurial projects for implementation with the aim of producing 3,170 entrepreneurs in five months.
Muhyiddin said that to enable the new generation of Felda settlers to have their own house, Agrobank has agreed to provide financing up to 110 per cent of the price of a house with a maximum value of RM300,000.
Besides, he said, the government has allocated RM286 million for infrastructure projects in Felda land schemes across the country, and RM200 million to upgrade and maintain roads in the settler farms.
The prime minister said attention is also given to the future of settlers’ children, and the government has agreed to allocate RM45 million to upgrade the Felda Semai Bakti hostels in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Kuantan in caring for their educational welfare.
Earlier, Muhyiddin engaged in a virtual interactive session with settlers in four Felda regions, namely Kuala Terengganu (Terengganu); Segamat (Johor); Jengka (Pahang) and Alor Setar (Kedah).
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