Deputy minister urges patience after delay in Felcra, Risda dividend payments to Orang Asli

Mohd Radzi attributed the delay in divident payments to several 'inevitable' factors. — Picture by Ham Abu Bakar
Mohd Radzi attributed the delay in divident payments to several 'inevitable' factors. — Picture by Ham Abu Bakar

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 23 — The delay in the dividend payment for commercial replanting projects (TSK) on Orang Asli land jointly run by Federal Land Consolidation and Rehabilitation Authority (Felcra) and Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda) was due to several inevitable factors, said Deputy Economic Affairs Minister Dr Mohd Radzi Md Jidin.

He said the first factor was that the dividend given to participants was based on the total profit of their respective projects, which was also affected by the current commodity prices.

He said the dividends were also affected due to the attitude of some participants who harvested their crops not in accordance with procedures, thereby affecting their output.

“Felda and Risda are looking into this issue and looking for the best solutions... this is because dividends are dependent on the project... there are projects that are profitable but some are not, due to geographical reasons and so on... not to mention the low commodity prices last year.

“Hence, we ask related parties such as Department of Orang Asli Development (Jakoa) to cooperate with Felda and Risda to play their respective roles so that the projects could give a better long-term impact on the Orang Asli community in the country,” he said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Negara today. 

Mohd Radzi was responding to a question from Senator Manolan Mohamad who sought an explanation following complaints from the participants who have  yet to receive the dividends, thus making it difficult for them to accommodate their needs, especially for daily necessities.

He also explained that the net profit generated from the entire TSK project managed by Felcra in 2018 was RM5.82 million, while from Risda it was RM12.62 million where the profit was dependent on current commodity prices.

Answering the original question by Manolan who wanted to know whether the TSK management would be handed over to Jakoa or the original owner, Mohd Radzi said it was subject to the mutual agreement between Jakoa, Felcra and Risda.

“For Felcra, the returning of the plantation area can be done when the replanting period is completed, which is between 25 and 30 years. This plantation management project is similar to the management of the other unification and recovery of plantations by Felcra.

“Meanwhile for Risda, the returning of the plantation can be done when the plant produces yield, which is four years for oil palm and seven years for rubber,” he added.

However, if the returning of the plantation to Jakoa is to be made earlier, then the development costs that have been advanced by Felcra and Risda need to be resolved first, he said. — Bernama

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