by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
The government has allocated RM164.8 million to assist almost 300,000 rubber smallholders for the monsoon season that has been affecting their annual wages.
“The ministry has provided an allocation of RM164.8 million that will benefit 274,639 smallholders nationwide,” Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in a statement last Friday.
The recipients who are registered under the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) will each receive RM600, which will be disbursed in two stages.
“The assistance of RM600 will be paid twice, of which RM300 will be disbursed at the end of 2018 and the remaining at the beginning of next year,” Lim said. The assistance involves 255,997 rubber smallholders who are landowners and 18,642 non-landowner rubber tappers who are working on plots below 2.5ha.
Lim said the allocation will be directed to the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
According to the Ministry of Finance (MoF), Sarawak holds the most rubber smallholders who are registered with Risda with 58,048, followed by Kelantan with 49,328 and Kedah with 45,297, Previously, the MoF also provided a RM77 million allocation to assist the settlers of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) as a response to the agency’s critical cashflow issue.
The ministry said the allocation is aimed to assist Felda settlers in paying their outstanding payments.
The aid is expected to be utilised in paying death benefits involving heirs to 120 settlers amounting to RM1.2 million and outstanding payments of RM43 million to Felda Technoplant Sdn Bhd for the operational works for the settlers’ farm development.