The story of Felda started with a dream by one man. That man was Tun Abdul Razak, the first Deputy Prime Minister of independent Malaysia and the second Prime Minister of the nation. His dream was that there would be “land for the landless” and “jobs for the jobless”, and his belief was that this was crucial in order to eradicate the poverty which was prevalent in the rural sector then. The year was 1955 and a new nation, Malaya was on the verge of gaining its independence from British rule, the spirit of nationalism was strong among the leaders of the day and they realised very early on that the only way for the rakyat to break free from their vicious circle of poverty was “for planned and coordinated development of land so as to ensure that economic development goes hand in hand with social development”... (Tunku Shamsul & Perera, 1977).
Must read more here: Nation Building- The Felda Model
Here is a very good rebuttal on the ill fated Felda Attacks by PAS/PKR complete with constructive criticisms and good proposals of Felda itself by blogger Syed Akbar Ali:
1. Felda is nowhere near “bankruptcy”. They have assets in excess of RM16.0 Billion, ample liquidity to meet all their short term obligations and relatively little long term obligations. And no Bank is suing Felda for late payment of anything. If no Bank is suing Felda for money, they are not likely to be “bankrupted.”
2. According to Minister YB Ahmad Mazlan, Felda’s cash hoard has decreased from RM4.08 billion in 2004 to RM1.35 billion in 2009 – a drop of RM2.73 billion over five years.
3. Over the same period Felda’s current and fixed assets have gone up by RM6.2 billion from RM9.17 billion in 2004 to RM15.37 billion in 2009. Surely some (if not all) the cash was used to finance the larger asset base. I asked about Dr Tan Tee Kwong’s (ex Gerakan, now Keadilan member) claim that Felda has only RM350 milion cash left. Felda is puzzled about this number. Lately Pakatan folks have problems with numbers.
4. For years running, Felda’s annual cash requirement alone is up to RM1.5 billion, which they have always fully met.
5. Felda has over 400,000 hectares of land planted by 112,000+ peneroka Felda. Then Felda Plantations has planted a further 340,000 hectares on its own, minus peneroka. What the Felda peneroka plant on their 400,000 hectares goes to them (that is why Felda was set up in the first place). The 340,000 hectares planted by Felda Plantations yields RM1.1 billion in revenues which goes to Felda. Felda uses this income to cover its operating costs, reinvest, run many programs, replanting, scholarship programs etc.
6. Since the mid 1990s, no new peneroka have been created. The present Felda was the brilliant brainchild of Tun Abdul Razak, first created in 1956 at a time when economic opportunities were few and the rural population lived way below the poverty line. At that time our population would have been around 5 million people. As late as 1986 Felda was still struggling as a plantation organization. However by the late 80s Felda reached maturity and the fruits started hanging low.
7. By 1996, Felda had repaid the last of its World Bank loans, 16 years before due date in 2012. The Government also stopped funding for Felda in 1996. This means Felda has been financially independent since 1996.
8. I see two big issues at Felda. Firstly it is a victim of its own success. Felda has plenty of cash and assets. However plantations alone do not provide avenues for Felda to make new investments. (You may ask “Why not? Just plant more and more land.” I thought so too) Felda must be careful how it diversifies and who are its partners. Stick to tried and proven business principles and the risk should be manageable. Even to diversify, stay close to the business that you know best and pick people who are trustworthy (No. 1 consideration) and who can deliver.
9. The second issue is much more complex. This has to do with 112,000+ agricultural peneroka having multiplied themselves over 50 years into a 2.0 million population who live under a distinct entity and identity called Felda.It is a great big job to manage any company with even five workers. And in all companies the workers from 9 am to 5 pm and then go home to their families after work. Unfortunately the same does not apply to Felda. The “peneroka” and the 2.0 million inhabitants of Felda do not go home after work. I cannot even begin to imagine the complexities of managing a giant with 740,000 hectares of plantation land and 2.0 million dependents who live and work on this land, who also give birth to children, who need homes (all Felda’s responsibility), who need schooling, water and electricity (Felda even builds its own water treatment plants) and a gazillion other things that are needed by 2.0 million people. All of this is Felda’s responsibility.
Blogger Syed ended his post with this parting words: I see the problems confronting Felda being similar to issues our country faced in its early years. We need to provide new types of jobs and other economic opportunities for Felda’s 2.0 million population. We need to introduce factories, shops, supermarkets, new townships, businesses etc into the Felda areas – just like we did in the other parts of the country. And this cannot be the sole responsibility of Felda anymore.Felda can open up “designated commercial areas” for investment and development from outside, so that Felda’s 2.0 million inhabitants will have diversified economic opportunities. As for all you Pakatan supporters out there, do not even think for one minute that the PIS boys know anything better – or anything at all. They have just most successfully covered up huge losses at the Kohilal Koperasi. If they get their hands on Felda, the word “angkut” will acquire an entirely new meaning.
In the final analysis, Felda is a resounding success. It has grown into a middle aged giant. More vigilance is therefore necessary.
PLEASE read more of this most profound post here in full; The Felda issue.
Here is more rebuttal from the BN Government:
Ahmad Maslan: Felda paid RM1.3b in taxes, not bankrupt
Bernama July 26, 2010
KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 — The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) paid RM1.303 billion in taxes to the Inland Revenue Board during the four-year period from 2004, Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan said.
Announcing the figure today, Ahmad, who is in charge of Felda, said the payment proved that Felda was not bankrupt as claimed by the opposition.
“This is the first that time we reveal this data to the public. It is to prove that the allegation that Felda is bankrupt is wrong.
“This is Felda’s contribution to the government and the people. The money can be used by the government to help the people,” he told a news conference after opening a seminar on Felda management and launching the Felda Management Manual here today.
Present were Felda general manager Datuk Dzulkifli Abd Wahab and Felda Global Venture Holdings (FGVH) president Datuk Sabri Ahmad.
Ahmad said if it was true that Felda was bankrupt “how is it possible that an agency which receives no financial assistance from the government, could pay such a high amount of taxes?”
“Felda is a stable organisation,” he added.
On the RM200 million suit Felda planned to file against Suara Keadilan for publishing the report “Felda Bangkrap” last month after the seven-day notice for apology had lapsed, Ahmad said the matter was being looked into by a panel of lawyers.
On the Felda Management Manual, Ahmad said it was an update to the one published 10 years ago, making it more comprehensive, covering Felda’s visions and missions and jobs description such as farm management as well as issues such as community development, human resources, financial, land management and entrepreneur development.
He said the manual would be updated from time to time in line with changes in government policies. — Bernama
Looks like the Pakatan agitators are beating a hasty retreat with their tail between their legs, read After Felda Pakatan now eyes Felcra.
Just wondering what nonsense will PAS and PKR come up with this time from their magic bag of lies and spins.