Putrajaya to sell Felda assets to reduce RM8 billion debt, says Azmin

KUALA LUMPUR: Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali says a white paper to reduce the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) debt of RM8 billion will be presented at the current Parliament sitting.

He said Putrajaya was facing a critical cash flow in Felda and looking at ways to reduce the debt, including through the appointment of a new management in July.

“We are also looking at action plans to benefit the settlers,” he said during the question-and-answer session at Dewan Rakyat today.

He was replying to Hassan Abdul Karim (PKR-Pasir Gudang), who asked the ministry whether it was true that Felda’s cash flow was nearly nil, and what steps had been taken to safeguard the settlers.

Azmin also said the government hoped to reduce 15% of the debt by the end of this year.

He said Putrajaya was looking to sell non-strategic assets in London, Sabah and Sarawak which cost some RM2 billion.

In an additional question, Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak) blamed Felda’s debts on bad management and urged the government to hire a more efficient one.

To this, Azmin said Putrajaya had done so, but “the problem is if we inherited bad management from the previous government”.

This earned him a sharp response from Tajuddin, who said: “I thought we would not be talking like this anymore in this session. It’s embarrassing in front of the future prime minister.

“We should be better now.”

Azmin however said any ineffective management should be sacked, adding that “even then, he wants to be a candidate in Port Dickson”.

Tajuddin also called on the government to implement new methods of helping settlers earn a higher revenue, to which Azmin said reskilling and training would be carried out.