PETALING JAYA: The government’s decision to appoint Umno’s Ahmad Shabery Cheek as the new chairman of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) is “very disappointing”, says an NGO representing its settlers.
Persatuan Anak Peneroka Kebangsaan (Anak) president Mazlan Aliman criticised the appointment, saying it was a case of bringing in yet another “outsider”.
“Felda, which was established in 1956 and involves 112,635 settlers in 317 locations, is still made to rely on ‘outsiders’ to safeguard the interests of its residents,” he said in a statement.
He added that Anak, which represents the second and third generations of Felda settlers, had always called for intellectuals and new-generation Felda activists to be given the opportunity and trust to lead the agency.
Mazlan lamented that all their pleas seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.
Last Wednesday, Bernama reported that Shabery, the former Kemaman MP, had been appointed as the new Felda chairman, effective July 1.
Shabery held various Cabinet portfolios between 2008 and 2018 – namely, as information minister, youth and sports minister, communications and multimedia minister, as well as agriculture and agro-based industry minister.
He was also reported to have said last week that he would not be contesting in the upcoming elections in six states.
Shabery will replace former Terengganu menteri besar Idris Jusoh, who stepped down as Felda chairman.