Malaysia

PM pledges RM1.69b windfall for FELDA settlers ahead of polls

Najib speaking to the Felda settlers during his visit to Jengka on May 8, 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy MayNajib speaking to the Felda settlers during his visit to Jengka on May 8, 2012. — Picture by Choo Choy MayJENGKA, May 8 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak today announced a RM1.69 billion windfall for all FELDA settlers and staff throughout the country, ahead of FELDA Global Venture Berhad's (FGVH) listing and an expected general election.

The prime minister said that all FELD settler would receive a windfall of RM15,000 each through three different phases - RM5,000 for settlers (phase 1), RM5,000 for their wives (phase 2), and RM5,000 for the second-generation settlers (phase 3).

"These (payments) come from FELDA's own strength. We do not utilise government funds.

"Kita usahakan transformasi, bukan reformasi (We are about transformation)," he said to cheers from over 100,000 FELDA settlers here.

The first phase of the handouts to settlers will be executed within the next two to three weeks, Najib told reporters later.

“It will be in cash. The second phase will be announced after the first phase.

“(The) listing will likely take place before the third phase,” he said.

When asked to explain the high windfall amount, Najib said: “When you list, you monetise assets, there are additional funds.”

Najib also announced a special 2½ months bonus payment for all FELDA staff, reiterating that today’s windfall benefited all stakeholders.

“The last phase of the 21st century begins today... so let us stand proud and make FELDA the world’s biggest global commodity.

“Kita tak nak jadi jaguh kampung, kita nak jadi juara seantero dunia (we do not want to become village champions, we want to become champions of the world),” he said.

The listing of the plantation giant was promised by Najib to be a “windfall” for FELDA settlers, a traditional vote bank for Umno.

It is seen as important to ensuring continued support from the settlers in the upcoming general election which widely expected to be held by July.

FGVH is a 100 per cent subsidiary of FELDA, a statutory body under the Prime Minister’s Department.

 

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