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.
Besides this, Muhyiddin said throughout its 64-year history, Felda had attained numerous recognition, on the international stage even, and achieved many successes, including poverty eradication, boosting commodity production and raising standards of living in the rural areas.
However, in line with current changes, Felda needs to explore new fields capable of providing its communities much assured and better lives, the prime minister said.
Muhyiddin said among the programmes being implemented is the New Felda Model that will be primarily driven by the Settlers Development Programme to cultivate new products, consolidation of Felda cooperatives and the use of latest technologies for smart agriculture programmes.
“The aim of this new model is to help settlers supplement their income and not just be reliant on oil palm and rubber yield any longer, especially when taking into account uncertainties in the global commodity market.
In the event, Muhyiddin also presented four awards, namely for achievements in increasing oil palm and rubber production, Felda entrepreneur with the highest income and the most beautiful Felda village.