KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — The government will propose a new business model for the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) besides other initiatives when its White Paper is tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, said Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali.
He said he had a long discussion with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on the White Paper before it was approved by the Cabinet last Friday.
Speaking to reporters after a ceramah in Rantau tonight, Azmin said he was pleased that they supported the measures proposed to strengthen Felda’s financial position for the betterment of its settlers, including the new business model.
“It will not only look at Felda’s financial issues but also at steps to be taken to ensure the future of the settlers. We will present a new business model in the management of Felda’s land so that they will be more sustainable in the long run,” he said.
Asked why the White Paper was necessary, Azmin said it was vital to expose the true situation affecting Felda.
“We want the settlers to understand that while the government wants to protect their interest, they must also know that the former management was irresponsible.
“This can only be done when we carry out a forensic audit by an independent professional body, which has been done, and we will expose it all in the White Paper,” he said.
Azmin pointed out that other plantation companies have grown by leaps and bounds but Felda was still struggling, and he hoped that with the White Paper, the government will be able to turn Felda around.
“Other private plantations have made huge profits, so the question is why Felda cannot achieve the same?
“So the management of the plantations have to be reviewed to bring about economies of scale and increase productivity,” Azmin said.