THE turnaround plan for ailing government agency, the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), has shifted into high gear.
With a fresh aid of RM6.23bil announced by the government in its recent White Paper, Felda is expected to further expedite its Transformation Project, which kicked off in November last year.
The White Paper, in a nutshell, revealed a new business model to manage the agency’s penerokas’ (settlers’) land, the introduction of a new flexible aid scheme, the abolition of interest rates on the cost of living loan and harvest advances taken by settlers, the development of skilled and innovative settlers and reducing their dependency on oil palm and rubber by planting other cash crops, and the completion of the construction of homes for second-generation Felda settlers.
When contacted, Felda chairman Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor tells StarBizWeek that “the new business model will help to ensure the sustainability of the new Felda. In fact, it has been identified as one of the 31 strategic initiatives under our Transformation Project”.
He points out that “Felda will not be able to complete its full turnaround plan until this new business model (as mapped out by the White Paper) is fully implemented”.
The White Paper also highlighted that Felda would be managing its settlers’ land under a long-term lease under the new business model.
Megat Zaharuddin says the reality of the industry is that Felda settlers, who are heavily involved in oil palm and rubber plantations, are in for the maximisation of yields from their land and the cost optimisation from the economies of scale in order to cope with the volatilities of the commodity prices in the global markets.
“We feel that most of our settlers will need the certainty of at least an assured minimum income.
“Therefore, Felda under its new business model will try to iron out as many details as possible in order to achieve our targeted goals within a certain timeframe,” explains Megat Zaharuddin.
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