Felda settlers to get 2,400 homes soon

pic by TMR FILE

THE government will resume construction on more than 2,400 abandoned homes for the second-generation Felda (Federal Land Development Agency) settlers set for completion next year.

Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin (picture) said the units accounted for only a fraction of the 20,000 homes promised by the previous administration involving provisions worth RM1.5 billion. Lack of funds and poor planning, however, forced the five-year project to a standstill with only 8,314 units finished.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration had since approved RM250 million in grants to complete the construction of the homes on 20 different sites. To date, 4,794 units have a completion rate of over 70%, while 1,689 units from nine projects have acquired the certification of completion and compliance.

Meanwhile, 3,096 units from 11 projects are still in construction. About 660 units are expected to be completed by December this year, while another 2,436 units will be realised in stages next year.

“Putrajaya’s commitment to complete these abandoned homes will benefit the new generation directly. The government is focused on the completion of projects which are nearly finished,” Mohd Radzi told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

He said this in response to Datuk Dr Hasan Bahron (PH-Tampin) who asked the minister to state efforts done to ensure that the second generation of Felda settlers will have their own homes.

The government has vowed to inject RM6.23 billion of financial aid in stages into Felda as part of its turnaround plan for the troubled planter. Putrajaya has so far pumped over RM3 billion since the start of the year to help restructure its finances and pay off the settlers’ debt, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.

Azmin confirmed that RM2.5 billion in the form of government guarantees had been approved to help Felda restructure its existing debt from financial institutions.

Felda’s unaudited report for the financial year ended June 30, 2019, showed that its annual loss was reduced by over half to RM260.37 million from RM660.79 million the year prior. Reasons for the improved figures were not stated in full, but recent gains in palm oil prices may have lifted its performance.