PETALING JAYA: Seasoned Felda activist Mazlan Aliman says the agency and the government must be transparent in how the RM6 billion it recently received will be utilised.
Mazlan, who now heads the Felda NGOs Consultative Council, said there should be no personal agenda and political interference in Felda, adding that actions by the previous government had retarded its growth.
“We hope all past mistakes and past tragedies will never happen again. Pakatan Harapan (PH) has to be transparent and make Felda a success,” he told FMT.
Putrajaya recently announced RM6.23 billion in financial aid to help Felda cope with losses and debts accumulated over the past decade.
The agency’s total liabilities multiplied over 10 years, from RM1.2 billion in 2007 to RM14.4 billion in 2017, according to a white paper released in Parliament citing poor management and issues related to integrity.
Mazlan, a well-known whistleblower on Felda issues who once headed the National Felda Settlers’ Children’s Association, urged the police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to probe misappropriation of funds through various projects linked to the federal land agency.
He also said proper planning would be needed for the government’s plan to remodel Felda.
He said Felda had no proper plan to maximise production yields, causing losses to oil palm and rubber plantation owners when the commodities’ prices took a hit.
“We need a new model to achieve higher yields so that settlers can earn at least RM3,000 a month instead of the present income of RM1,500,” said Mazlan.
“If the government fails in its attempts to remodel Felda, all of the RM6 billion aid will be used to pay debts.”
Mazlan said the PH government should also look into the welfare of settlers, including their housing needs.
He said 9,000 homes were needed for second-generation settlers, and abandoned housing projects should now be revived.