KUALA LUMPUR: Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad today gave the assurance that the agency would continue to give priority to safeguarding the interest and well-being of settlers, including rehabilitating plantations that were affected by natural disasters, disease or pest.
He said the cost in doing so would be borne by Felda, as well as funds from the Plantation Rehabilitation Account set up since 1972.
“This Plantation Rehabilitation Account is also known as the Plantation Insurance in the settlers’ paysheet. The subscription rate imposed on settlers is RM10 per acre per year and deduction is made monthly,” he said in a statement here today.
He said the cost of plantation rehabilitation was high and normally the subscription collected through the plantation insurance was not enough for the purpose.
“In 2016 alone, a subscription of RM4.5 million was collected from settlers, while RM7.24 million was spent for rehabilitation of plantations affected by natural disaster, attacked by disease and pest,” he said.
Shahrir said it was not true the claims by some settlers that the Plantation Insurance did not exist and it was a cheat by Felda to collect the monthly subscription from the settlers for the fund.
He said the Plantation Rehabilitation Account was a special record which was audited every year by an auditor appointed by the National Audit Department and was in accordance with the standard of the National Financial Report.
However, he said there were confusion over the terms of the insurance and the Felda management had identified the weaknesses and working to resolve them.
He advised settlers to seek explanation from the Felda management over matters they did not understand or problems and should not viral issues that were baseless and could disrupt harmony among them.
In another development, Shahrir said works to contain the pest attack was continued last July at Felda Gugusan Hulu Selangor. – Bernama