MARAN, Sept 23 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today hailed the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) as the most successful unrivalled land development agency in the world.
The prime minister said many countries, in Africa for example, had applied the Felda module founded by Malaysia’s second prime minister Tun Abdul Razak Hussein 60 years ago but failed.
“Visiting heads of government taken to the Felda land schemes are impressed and desire to import the module. We have sent our Felda teams to assist as well.
“However, it has not worked out as their governments are unable to implement the scheme like in Malaysia where boldness in carrying it out had brought success and international recognition,” he said.
Najib spoke at the launch of the national-level Felda Settlers Day 2016 at the compound of the Tun Abdul Razak Stadium in Jengka here. The theme of the event is ‘Appreciating the Blessings, Unity and Togetherness’.
Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim and Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad were also present at the event.
Najib said Felda may have scored various successes but he, as the heir to the legacy of his father Tun Razak, remained unsatisfied and always strived to make improvements.
“It is difficult for me to let go of Felda. In fact, Felda should not be under my jurisdiction. However, as Felda is synonymous with me and my family, I provide the support and aid for Felda to remain successful,” he said.
Najib said that as a measure of transformation, the government planned to improve governance at Felda and that this would be discussed in detail at the ‘Felda Enhancement Laboratory’ and the outcome announced soon.
He also said that he was in the know about many complaints, such as late payment after harvest, expensive houses, disorganised harvesting, incomplete statements and delayed issuance.
“It is for this reason that we have a lab to discuss matters in detail and many recommendations are put forth. There are about 200 to 300 suggestions and I will go through them. Soon, we will announce improvements to the Felda governance,” he said.
Najib said that in the face of falling commodity prices in the world markets, the government had also taken various steps including cooperating with Indonesia to explore new measures in the current global economic environment, and these were showing positive results.
“We have come up with recommendations to improve palm oil prices although they are dependent on the world economic environment that is beyond our control,” he said, expressing the hope that the settlers would continue to persevere and remain with Felda.
Najib said Felda had done a lot for the settler community, providing them with various amenities and aid to raise their standard of living so that they could emerge from the shackles of poverty as envisaged by his father.
“Tun Abdul Razak, when he wanted to develop Felda, had said ‘land for the landless and good land for good people. So, Tun Abdul Razak regarded all settlers as good people.
“That was the desire of Tun Abdul Razak — the 10 acres (four hectares) of land, a house and other amenities, which we have improved upon so much so that the face of Felda in every scheme is far different now.
“Felda settlers no longer live in poverty. They can no longer be categorised as poor,” he said.
The amenities provided included loans to extend the house, and Felda had so far spent RM1.5 billion on interest-free loans of RM40,000 under a facility said to be unrivalled by any bank in the world, he said.
Najib said it was hoped that the settler community would continue to support the government and the Felda institution to ensure that the land schemes remained the stronghold of the government for the good of the Malays and Islam.
“We must not forget that it is the present government that created Felda. There is no problem that cannot be resolved; we have to be patient. Let’s not destroy what we have built,” he said.
At the event, Najib also officially opened the RM92-million 20,000-capacity Felda-owned Tun Abdul Razak Stadium built on five hectares.
He also launched an improved version of the Family Welfare Movement (GKK) module to develop human capital with emphasis on the concept of a balance in physical and spiritual development. — Bernama