BERA: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had intended to privatise Felda at one time, said Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
He said Dr Mahathir had made the proposal when he introduced the Malaysia Incorporated Policy but the idea was objected to by then Felda chairman Raja Tan Sri Muhammad Alias Raja Muhammad Ali.
“When the Malaysia Incorporated Policy was introduced, Felda was the first agency that he (Dr Mahathir) wanted to privatise but he could not because of the objection from Raja (Tan Sri Muhammad) Alias.
“In the end, he had no choice and privatised Tenaga Nasional Berhad instead. If Felda had been privatised then, we do not know what would have been the plight of the settlers today,” he said.
Ismail Sabri made the disclosure when speaking at the working visit and launch of the new model housing lots of the new generation of Felda settlers by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at Felda Kumai here yesterday.
Also present were Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad and Pahang Felda Affairs Committee chairman Datuk Seri Abu Bakar Harun.
Ismail Sabri said Dr Mahathir, who is now chairman of the opposition Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), had never provided any special allocation to Felda during the 22 years that he was the prime minister up to 2003.
This, he said, differed from Najib’s approach of implementing various programmes and providing special allocations to the Felda settlers, including the second-generation settlers.
“All the projects and allocations under the Prime Minister (Najib) showed his concern for and championing of the plight of the settlers. As such, we should not believe the opposition allegation that he wants to ruin Felda.
“The Prime Minister is a person who is closer to Felda than any other person because the land development authority was set up by his father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein.
“Felda has sentimental value for him… he is nurturing the legacy of his father,” he said.
Ismail Sabri, who is the MP for Bera, said the infrastructure at the 14 Felda schemes in the district had good basic facilities.
He also said that Najib had approved an allocation for the upgrading of the road from Simpang Kerayong to Triang and Bukit Mendi for the benefit of the people in Bentong and Muadzam Shah.
“The Prime Minister has done a lot for us in Bera and I hope the people of Bera will return the favour by giving BN a huge victory in the Bera parliamentary constituency and the state constituencies of Guai and Kemayan and help recapture the Triang state constituency in the next general election,” he said. — Bernama