JEMPOL, April 20 (Bernama) -- Cost of living loan and advance loan payments for Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers amounting to RM1,500 will continue, said Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
The Minister of Economic Affairs said the matter was decided by the government recently, adding that the Felda Board of Directors had proposed that such payments be reduced in view of Felda’s critical financial situation.
"But as a government that cares about settlers, I together with Deputy Minister (Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin) had met four times with the Prime Minister (Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad) before the white paper was tabled (in the Dewan Rakyat).
“The prime minister disagreed with the proposed payment reductions especially under the current economic situation,” said Mohamed Azmin after reviewing Felda's new generation housing project at Palong 8 in Negeri Sembilan, here today.
Also present was Dr Mohd Radzi, chairman of the state Investment, Industry, Entrepreneurship, Education and Human Capital, Dr Mohamad Rafie Ab Malek, state chairman of the Rural Development Action Committee Ismail Ahmad and Felda director-general Datuk Dr Othman Omar.
On March 28, the Felda Board of Directors recommended that the Living Loan and Advance Loan payments be reduced from RM1,500 to RM1,000 per month as a result of its current critical financial condition.
Elaborating further, Mohamed Azmin said that Dr Mahathir had also ordered a sum of money to be provided to Felda so that the cost of living loan and advance loan payments were retained at existing rates.
Meanwhile, he said 5,000 units of new generation Felda houses across the country which achieved 70 per cent construction status and above, would be completed this year involving a cost of RM250 million.
"For Negeri Sembilan, it involved a total of 839 units with a RM90 million allocation," he said.
In another development, Mohamad Azmin when asked to comment on the government’s decision on reviving the Bandar Malaysia project, said that it (the project) did not receive allocations from the government but was driven by the private sector.
“This project is not only a commercial and residential property development, but it is a strategic development that can attract investors from overseas multinational companies especially in the financial sector. We want to make Malaysia to be a financial hub again in the region.
“We believe in the principle that it must be done with open tenders where we can obtain information and that was among the reasons why the old administration terminated the original agreement on the basis of consideration for illegal remuneration,” he said.
Yesterday, Dr Mahathir announced that the government would resume the Bandar Malaysia project with a gross development value of RM140 billion after it was suddenly stopped in May 2017.
Earlier, Mohamed Azmin, who was on a one-day working visit to the state, attended a programme with Felda settlers from Felda Raja Alias at Palong 8 here.
In the programme, he also explained to the settlers about the white paper “Towards Felda’s Sustainability” which was tabled on April 10 at the Dewan Rakyat for its settlers.
He then presented awards to selected recipients. They were Jempol Penghulu (village chief) Datuk Lela Putra Setiawan Abdul Hafit Anuar Abu Bakar, Ramlah Jelani, Rizam Hazmi, Major (Retired) Abu Ibon, Nur Zalifah Pazerizulsham, Napsiah Abu Bakar, Harlina Abd Rahman, Abu Zarin Baba and to Felda Raja Alias 4.