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Felda riddled with debt when Pakatan Harapan took over: Azmin Ali

The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) was riddled with debts and its coffers virtually empty when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the administration of the country, Malaysia’s Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Friday (Dec 21).

Felda riddled with debt when Pakatan Harapan took over: Azmin Ali

The logo of Felda in seen in Kuala Lumpur, Feb 7, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Lai Seng Sin)

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) was riddled with debt and its coffers were virtually empty when Pakatan Harapan (PH) took over the administration of the country, Malaysia's Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said on Friday (Dec 21).

State palm plantation agency Felda had debts amounting to RM8.025 billion (US$1.95 billion) when the PH government came to power, and that affected the disbursement of financial aid to Felda settlers and its other commitments, he said in a statement.

"Despite all the problems left by the previous government, the ministry and the new management of Felda are working hard to ensure well-being of the settlers and their families," he said.

READ: Malaysia charges former chairman of palm agency Felda over graft

On Thursday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced a special allocation of RM77 million for Felda, RM1.2 million of which will go to the heirs of 120 deceased settlers as funeral benefit, RM43 million is to settle a Felda Technoplant debt, while RM32.8 million consists of living assistance and upfront payment for crop yield which will benefit 38,000 Felda settlers.

Azmin Ali said the ministry has always been concerned with the problems faced by Felda settlers, especially after palm oil and rubber prices dropped to their lowest level.

"As such, the ministry has taken a proactive measure by applying for a special allocation of RM77 million from the government and thanks to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's concern, it was approved on Dec 20," he added.

The distribution of the RM77 million is expected to be completed by end of this year, according to the minister.

"The allocation will help alleviate the financial burden of the settlers especially in preparing for their children’s new school session," he said.

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