In conjunction with the inaugural Felda Day speech held yesterday (7 July), the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that the government has identified debt as one of the main blockade that hindered Felda’s progress.
Hence, the government had agreed to dispose part of the Felda settlers’ loan under a conditional loan adjustment initiative. It is estimated that those debt involved are worth up to RM8.3 billion.
According to The Star, Muhyiddin said that the debt issue must be corrected before they proceed to revitalise and restart Felda. In addition, he said that the loan repayments of the settlers will reduce by an average of 80% under this initiative.
“The average loan repayment is expected to be reduced from between RM800 and RM1,000 a month to between RM250 and RM300 for oil palm settlers. For rubber smallholders, it will go as low as RM150 each, which is a reasonable and affordable rate for them,” he said.
The initiative was one of the 3 pronged strategies to bring Felda back to its former glory as the world’s leading plantation company. The strategies include Restart, Revitalise and Reform.
He said that these loans had been a burden to the settler’s next of kin for so long and it is detrimental to Felda’s efforts to get back on par with the world’s leading plantation companies.
“I really hope that with the new agreement signed by the settlers with Felda under this conditional adjustment initiative, the settlers will be more committed to fulfilling all the agreed terms so that they can jointly bear the responsibility of increasing productivity and ensuring the sustainability of Felda,” he said, according to The Edge.
Meanwhile, Muhyiddin said that the government will always remain committed to support the development of the Felda community and it is the time for the new generation of settlers to come forward, face the challenge and shoulder the responsibility to navigate change in the community.
“After 65 years of its establishment, I believe the Felda community has matured. After receiving various assistance and supports, you must all be ready to give back and contribute to the community as a whole,” he said.
Through all these initiatives by the government, Muhyiddin said that the Felda community should fully utilise the resources that they have to improve their socio-economic status and to ensure a brighter future for the next generations.
“I believe we are all witnessing a new beginning of Felda. Thank you to the previous generation of settlers who have placed a very strong foundation stone in the effort to develop Felda.” he added.