Azmin to meet Felda settlers after white paper tabled in Parliament

Datuk Seri Azmin Ali speaks during an economic forum in Shah Alam October 12, 2018. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali
Datuk Seri Azmin Ali speaks during an economic forum in Shah Alam October 12, 2018. — Picture by Azinuddin Ghazali

SHAH ALAM, Oct 12 — Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said today he will have a team speak to Felda settlers after a white paper, said to be an exposé on the agency’s total debts, is tabled in the next Parliamentary sitting.

He said this is to ensure proper information is disseminated to all settlers, so the group better understands the reason behind the debts accrued by Felda under the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

“When I took up this role (as Economic Affairs Minister), I was shocked to see the irresponsible and poor management. That is why Felda has to bear billions of ringgit in debt.

“We need to explain to the settlers while we look for solutions. They have suffered for so long.

“I have presented it to the Cabinet and the Prime Minister has agreed to have the white paper tabled in the next Parliament session,” said Azmin during a forum at Karangkraf’s headquarters here today.

When asked by moderator Tan Sri Johan Jaafar on how the Pakatan Harapan government can ensure other government-linked bodies do not accrue gigantic debts like 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Azmin said it all boils down to good corporate governance and exemplary work ethic.

“If an organisation is bloated with politicians with no corporate background and good work ethic, it will ruin the management of the agency.

“Felda, Tabung Haji, Mara, for instance, are all institutions that were established to help the Bumiputeras. But look at where Felda is now?” he asked.

The incumbent PKR vice-president said the previous government had burdened over 120,000 Felda settlers while they were operating under the guise of ‘helping the Malays’.

When asked of the severity of Felda’s debts, Azmin said: “It is bad.”

He said the decline of Felda Global Ventures (FGV) shares from RM4.80 to RM1.30 is one of the aftermaths of dubious Felda land sales.

Azmin cited several real estates in London, Sarawak and Melaka as belonging to the company which he claimed were irresponsible purchases.

“The institution was built for good reason, but non-trustworthy management caused its downfall,” he said.