06 November 2001 (Business Times) - The Government may consider continuingthe RM100 million aid to rubber smallholders to help with their dailyexpenses next year if the situation warrants it, National Economic ActionCouncil (NEAC) executive chairman Datuk Mustapa Mohamed.
Mustapa said the allocation would be spent by the end of the year and ifthere was additional need, it should be requested from the government.
"We have to see the economic situation first. The government will considerwhether to continue with it next year," he told reporters after presentingthe assistance and fertiliser valued about RM490,000 to settlers under theSouth Kelantan Development Authority (Kesedar) at the Jeli Umno complex atBukit Nangka here yesterday.
The aid was part of RM600 million for rubber and oil palm smallholders,introduced under a package to stimulate the country's economic growthearlier this year.
From the total, RM100 million was allocated to help smallholders withtheir daily expenses, RM200 million for fertiliser and tapping equipmentsand the rest to replant oil palm and plant various crops.
Mustapa said about RM40 million of the daily expenses assistance had beendisbursed to the various agencies so far, for distribution throughout thecountry.
"It had been somewhat delayed because the agencies had to verify the listof those qualified for help,"
He advised the recipients to make good use of the money especially fortheir children, who will be starting their new school term next year.
"The smallholders should realise that they are very lucky because thegovernment had been sensitive to their plight," he added.
At the function, 299 smallholders received daily expenses assistancetotalling more than RM220,000.