Anwar, Azmin at odds over duit raya for Felda settlers

Anwar, Azmin at odds over duit raya for Felda settlers

KUALA LUMPUR: Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are at opposite ends over the proposal of giving special cash payments (duit raya) to Felda settlers.

“Maybe we can reduce their (financial) burden by giving them a little aid or allowances to settlers who are experiencing hardship during Ramadan and are going to celebrate Raya,” the PKR president and Port Dickson MP told reporters in Parliament yesterday.  

He is also parliamentary caucus on reform and governance committee chairman.

Azmin however shot down the proposal since the government does not intend to give “duit raya” to the 112,635 Felda settlers throughout the country for now due to the dire financial situation of the country.

He said that the government is focused on providing cost of living allowance and advance on produce incentives for the settlers.

“I want to ensure that all this money is chanelled before Raya,” he told reporters after the Iftar Perdana Council and the presentation of Aidilfitri’s contribution to recipients in the Gombak Setia constituency here today.

Calls for special cash payment also known as duit raya was triggered by Felda NGOs National Council (MPNF) due to unstable income caused by fluctuating palm oil commodity prices and rising cost.

“We sorted one out recently via a White Paper costing RM6.23 billion and that should be our long-term goal as we are looking at sustainable and long-term solutions,” he said.

He also said that a cash crop model is being developed by the Agriculture and Agro Industries Ministry.

“This is the alternative crop, because we do not want the settlers to be too dependent on oil palm, because it takes a very long time to get back returns, and now with the price of commodities in the market fluctuating all the time, we thought it is better for us to introduce the cash crop model and to get the youth of Felda to embrace new technology,” he said.

The first pilot project for the cash crop model is slated to be done in Pahang or Johor.

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