Felda's original objective is to eradicate poverty, not creating wealthy elitists - Shahrir

Felda's  original objective is to eradicate poverty, not creating wealthy elitists - Shahrir
Shahrir (white shirt) at the Melaka's state-level Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa Carnival and Aidilfitri celebration in Alor Gajah today. - BERNAMApic
ALOR GAJAH: The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), during its initial stage of establishment by second Prime Minister, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, is aimed at eradicating poverty and not at creating wealthy elitists,  according to its chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.

He said this in response to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s remark yesterday that Tun Abdul Razak had erred in formulating Felda land scheme by giving only 10 acres (4 hectares) of land to the settlers and not turning them into millionaires.

“Dr Mahathir forgot that Tun Abdul Razak’s approach on Felda was to take out as many people as possible of poverty and not just to create a small group of wealthy elitists.

“If we want to create millionaires, we have to give each settler more than 10 acres of land, probably 100,000 acres each,” he told reporters after attending the state-level ‘Negaraku Sehati Sejiwa’ Carnival and Aidilfitri celebration graced by Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron here today.
He said if each Felda settler was given 100,000 acres of land, they would probably be rich, but the number of those who benefited from Felda would not be as many as today.

“If Dr Mahathir thinks he had a better approach, he should have implemented it during his tenure of 22 years,” Shahir said.

Shahir also questioned why Dr Mahathir had only focused on Kuala Lumpur and not on rural development and agricultural sector when he was in power.

“Today, thanks to the efforts of the late Tun Abdul Razak, the late Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, agriculture has become one of the main contributors to the country’s economy,” he said.

In another development, he said Felda was in the midst of solving the issue faced by the second generation of its settlers and also the rest of the people in the country, which is house ownership.

“In Felda, we are intensifying efforts to solve this issue by collaborating with Syarikat Perumahan Negara Berhad (SPNB) to enable the second generation of Felda settlers who can actually afford, but have no monthly pay slip, to take housing loan,” he said.

He said the issue faced by the second generation of Felda settlers should not be viewed separately, but must be solved collaboratively by all quarters, including the SPNB, as well as the federal and state governments.