KUALA LUMPUR, April 11 — Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) deputy president Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir today made a list of promises, including the formation of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI), to audit the Federal Land Development Authority’s (Felda) monetary losses.
In a forum titled “The Felda Crisis” today, Mukhriz said that the initiative was necessary to restore the glory days of Felda.
“First commitment is to stop financial irregularities at all levels. So the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government will take immediate action to protect the interests of Felda settlers and their descendants.
“We will make sure that political leaders and cronies who betray the trust of their leaders are brought to justice.
“A Royal Commission of Inquiry will be formed to audit Felda and identify steps to be taken, to restore Felda’s honour and glory,” he said.
Mukhriz said the RCI would also be tasked with vetting the contracts and agreements signed by Felda.
He said a special Cabinet committee would also be formed to oversee the RCI, and it would also hear complaints from Felda settlers directly, and identify solutions with other government agencies, to improve the settlers’ living standards.
Mukhriz said that under the PH government, misappropriated Felda assets would also be confiscated via legal means.
He also pledged to amend the Land (Group Settlement Area) Act 1960, which currently makes it mandatory for them to go through an arbitration process as provided for under the law.
“This will lead to a biased decision always as it’s not independent of the executive’s influence. So to ensure justice for settlers, we recommend amending this Act, so the settlers can bring their case to court,” he added.
Mukhriz added that the administration of Felda would also be restructured to make sure it concentrated on its core plantation business.
He said the management of the settlers’ lands and debts would be given special attention to protect their interests.
Among others, he also proposed an increase in subsistence allowance during replanting season, to a maximum of RM2,000 per month, flexible and affordable loans as well as homes for younger Felda settlers.
He also promised infrastructure developments to create Felda townships and good access to local boarding schools and vocational schools for the children of Felda settlers.
Dividends earned from Felda’s investments and subsidiaries, he said, would be used to settle the settlers’ debts, including home repair debts, home purchase debts and yield advance debts.
The forum today was organised by NGO, C4, an anti-corruption movement.