Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak yesterday announced six incentives for the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers.
These incentives are in the form of debt disposal, incentive payment, set-up of a special fund and grant, as well as housing incentive, among others.
Sharing the good news with over 50,000 people — including Felda settlers who were not deterred by the heavy rain at Dataran Putrajaya — Najib announced a special incentive of RM5,000 each to 94,956 fully eligible families of Felda settlers for their welfare.
“With a total allocation of RM474.78 million, the payment will commence at the end of August 2017,” he said to the applause of those attending the national level Felda Settlers Day 2017 celebration in Putrajaya.
In line with the effort towards a stronger corporate governance and integrity, Najib — who is also finance minister — announced that part of their Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGVH) equity loan would also be disposed of.
“Some 77,934 settlers, who are still paying for the FGVH equity loans, will have the balance of their loans disposed of at a rate of ringgit to ringgit.”
Najib said 1,626 settlers, who had paid their loans, will receive a cash reward of RM1,820 each.
“This involves a total allocation of RM128.1 million. For settlers who have never made any FGVH equity loan payment, they will not receive this incentive,” he added.
He also announced an incentive to dispose of replanting debts amounting to RM5,000 each for every settler who chose to replant through Felda — involving a total allocation of RM519 million.
Additionally, a special replanting over-draft debt disposal fund will also be set up, involving an allocation of RM300 million for a period of five years commencing from 2017 until 2021 to dispose of the operating cost debts exceeding RM40,000.
“This means, if the debt for replanting operating cost is RM60,000, a total of RM20,000 will be disposed of using this special fund based on an assessment on the application sent and approved by a committee at the Felda level.”
Najib also announced the establishment of a special replanting grant which had been approved for Felda by the Malaysian Palm Oil Board and the rate for the replanting programme is RM7,500 per hectare beginning this year up to 2020.
“This involves an area of 24,280.3ha with an allocation of RM166.6 million over the four-year period,” he said.
To add cheer to the Felda settlers in raising their families, Najib also announced an approval to build more than one house on a site.
To date, he said, there were 4,711 settlers owning two houses on a site and this could be further implemented on another 70,506 suitable sites.
“To overcome housing problems faced by the new generation, Felda and the state government will work together to approve on the construction of more housing units on one site. The settlers will have to bear the building costs,” he said.
Najib stressed that the incentives were granted to 94,956 eligible settlers as their land and products were managed by Felda.
He said those who cooperated with Felda had loyally repaid the money, which had been loaned to them for replanting purposes or for their house renovations.
He said they also made contributions to various funds managed by Felda — such as the replanting scheme and village development funds.
Meanwhile, Najib said for the first time, it was with noble intention that he was giving a chance to 17,679 settlers, who had not sold their products to Felda and who had sued Felda, to return to the fold.
“However, we are giving them a six-month period start- ing from next month to coope- rate with Felda and to fulfil the requirements set.”
Najib said the settlers who returned to cooperate would be eligible for the six incentives beginning from February 2018. — Bernama