13/12/05 (The Star) - PUTRAJAYA: Felda settlers, who will get RM97mil in bonus payments by the end of the month, must strive harder to be either in the middle-income or lower middle-income group, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
If they were earning a monthly household income of RM1,200 with their smallholdings, he said, they should diversify into other businesses to target an increased income of at least RM2,000.
“Settlers must change their mindset to better their social and financial status.
“They should plan their strategies carefully towards one common vision and goal,” he said, adding that getting their children to further their education was another way of upgrading their status.
Najib added that the Government would also help turn Felda Holding into a global conglomerate to earn maximum profits for the Felda Group of Companies.
“Funds from these ventures will be used for the benefit of Felda settlers and their families.
“Felda Holding should show the world (its capabilities),” he told reporters after opening the Felda National Conference at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre here yesterday.
He said some African countries, impressed by the Felda scheme, hoped to learn from Malaysia as their similar ventures had failed.
Felda has so far developed over 850,000ha of land of which 390,054ha was planted with oil palm and 114,497ha with rubber trees, Najib said.
He added that 1,576 children of settlers had acquired PhDs; 1,258 Master's degrees while 21,871 were degree holders.
On the bonus payment, which is being made for the second consecutive year, Najib said it would continue to be paid as it had helped to increase productivity among the settlers.
This year 77,882 settlers would be paid between RM400 and RM1,500 each.
A total of 36,813 settlers did not qualify for the incentive as they had either not sent any produce to Felda or did not meet the minimum requirements.