Finance ministry approves RM42m in monsoon aid for Sabah smallholders

Lim Guan Eng addresses a press conference in Putrajaya April 23, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Lim Guan Eng addresses a press conference in Putrajaya April 23, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, April 26 — The Finance Ministry has approved an additional allocation of about RM42 million for distribution to 70,000 smallholders in Sabah as monsoon season aid payment of RM600 each.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, in a statement today, said the aid payment, to be coordinated by Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal, shows the federal government’s concern for smallholders in Sabah, who are now facing low rubber prices.

The issue of monsoon season aid payment to Sabah smallholders was raised by the state government and the Sabah Rubber Industry Board (LIGS), he said.

“LIGS has appealed for the definition of smallholders in Sabah to include rubber planters with farm holdings of six hectares and below which involve more than 70,000 farmers,” he said.

The federal government had earlier provided monsoon season aid of RM200 a month for three months (November 2018, December 2018 and January 2019) to rubber smallholders, that is rubber farmers with farms of 2.5 hectares and below throughout the country through the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), he said.

The aid involved allocations of RM165 million and benefited almost 275,000 smallholders, including 6,000 in Sabah, who are registered with Risda, he added. — Bernama