KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Settlers in Federal Land Authority (Felda) schemes must do more to improve their lot beyond waiting for government subsidies and assistance, celebrity chef Datuk Redzuawan Ismail said today.
Commonly called Chef Wan, he commented on the settlers’ affairs in three consecutive Instagram posts today, suggesting they lacked the competitive and innovative drive of agricultural smallholders in other nations he has visited such as Sweden, Norway and Australia.
“Here, Felda folk, although not all blaming the government at coffee shops, just wait for assistance. When they get it tomorrow, it’s a different story. Some fertiliser subsidies are even sold.
“With the extra cash, some get itchy and marry second and third wives, before breeding like cats!” said the 2019 Felda Icon.
Insisting he was not exaggerating, Redzuawan said he witnessed this phenomenon repeatedly in his younger days.
The celebrity chef then bemoaned that such attitudes were now passed down to future generations.
“They might not like what I say but that’s the honest truth.”
Using himself as an example, Redzuawan said he had been willing to do anything to get ahead in life, joking that he only stopped short of prostituting himself.
Redzuawan advised Malaysia’s youth to be willing to change in pursuit of their fair share of the economy, saying that opportunities were there to be seized.
Those unwilling to overcome laziness or rise to the challenge will always remain unsuccessful, he added.
He then lamented that there were those still criticising Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his efforts to aid Felda settlers, calling such critics “maggots from the gutters” who disrespected the latter’s contributions.
The federal government is attempting to cajole Felda settlers into exploring new sources of income to mitigate chronically depressed palm oil prices worldwide.
Dr Mahathir is set to introduce the Settlers Development Programme (PPP) to encourage Felda settlers to take up fast-yielding crops and livestock to mitigate palm oil woes that forced Putrajaya into a multi-billion bailout of the agency.
The PPP is part of the RM6.23 billion bailout of Felda that became necessary after it went from cash-rich to RM14.4 billion in debt under the Barisan Nasional government and during the stewardship of Tan Sri Isa Samad.