Muhyiddin only reminds FELDA settlers to pay their RM9.9b debt settlement loan, never waived their debt

FELDA settlers and their immediate families are ever grateful to Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for approving the RM1 bil per year financial aid to pay off loan for their debt settlement sukuk (Islamic bond) amounting to RM9.9 bil (excluding interest).

This, according to National FELDA head of settlers Sulong Jamil Mohd Shariff, is much more re-assuring than during the administration of eighth PM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who only initiated the RM9.9 bil government guaranteed sukuk.

“During the explanation session, TS Muhyiddin kept reminding us that the loan is not free and that we have to settle the loans ourselves. Even at the juncture of departure, he again repeated the sentence that we have to pay back (service the loan) ourselves,” Sulong clarified in a media statement.

“(But) when unity government led by DS Anwar took over the reins of government, he reviewed this matter with the Finance Ministry.

“At end-June 2023, DS Anwar signed a guarantee in which the unity government agreed to extend financial aid amounting to RM1 bil per year to help FELDA offset its sukuk loan principal of RM9.9 bil.”

This key clarification by Sulong somehow cleared the misconception whereby Perikatan Nasional (PN) has denounced Anwar for claiming during the recent FELDA Settlers Day celebration that that the previous PN administration did not waive the RM8.3 bil FELDA settlers’ debt.

Sulong Jamil Mohd Shariff

For context, Muhyiddin had in a Facebook post over the weekend accused Anwar as lying for claiming that he (Muhyiddin) did not write off or resolve the FELDA settlers’ debt.

“With this, FELDA is able to breathe a sigh of relief whereby it only needs to find other sources of income, one of which is from FGV LLA, factories and so on that will generate more than RM1 bil in income,” justified Sulong.

“With this income, FELDA is able to fund its staff salaries, bank interest, settlers’ advance   re-planting advance, advance fertiliser advance, subsistence and other activities involving welfare of settlers.”

He added: “Maybe within eight years, FELDA will be able to run as usual and return to the original track of its establishment.”

Aside from the RM1 bil per year financial aid to expedite the settlement of FELDA settlers’ debt, Anwar has also unveiled the setting up of 12 hemodialysis centers within the FELDA settlement vicinity and health benefits worth RM300 mil for settlers aged 65 and over to receive treatment at private clinics.

Elsewhere, Anwar also announced the Digital Madani programme to ensure children and grandchildren of FELDA settlers are not left behind in the GIG economy as well as facilitating settlers of the rubber plantation to switch to palm oil plantation.

“In the FELDA New Generation Housing issue, the PM gave a guarantee that 283 abandoned housing units will be completed while allocation will be set aside to build the new generation houses,” added Sulong. – July 10, 2023

Main pic credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Facebook

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