KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) should begin looking at ways to reduce its dependence on the government and find ways to be a leader in the agriculture and food market, says Umno vice president Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan.
In a statement, Mohamad, better known as Tok Mat, said despite providing job opportunities for nearly 122,000 families spanning three generations and lifting them out of poverty, many of them are still within the poverty line.
He highlighted four of Felda’s biggest challenges and urged the government and Felda administrators to use the ‘Felda Global Blueprint’ as its guiding force.
“To whomever is leading Felda, the first challenge is to reduce Felda’s dependency on the government. After 60 years, Felda workers’ wages are still low and many are in debt while the second and third generations are still in the B40 group,” said Tok Mat.
The second challenge is for Felda to use all of its experiences and assets to realise its potential to be a leader in the agriculture and food industry.
The third challenge is to develop the rural areas in what he called a “sustainable and modernised rural economy” and the fourth challenge would be to develop future Felda generations into the best work force in the industry.
“The ‘Felda Global Blueprint’ must be the government and Felda’s top priority. The previous white paper that was up for debate only focused on administerial issues,” said Tok Mat.
“Tackling administrative issues will not solve Felda’s structural and competitive problems. We have a duty to ensure Felda is governed properly and not just look at it as a vote bank for the ruling government.”
“Without encouragement and an eye for the future, Felda will continue to be a huge burden on the government and its previous successes would be in vain,” he added.