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    HomeNewsMalaysiaImproving Quality of Life: Analysts Urge Comprehensive Benefits for Felda Settlers

    Improving Quality of Life: Analysts Urge Comprehensive Benefits for Felda Settlers


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    KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has announced a series of initiatives and incentives aimed at improving the quality of life and protecting the welfare of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers. These incentives include infrastructure development, healthcare and housing provisions, as well as support in digital transformation. The Prime Minister announced several key initiatives, such as the Rahmah Health Contribution (SKR) with an allocation of RM21.21mil, the construction of hemodialysis centers with an allocation of RM21mil, an annual expenditure of RM7.7mil for street lighting, and a diesel subsidy of RM36mil per year for three Felda settlements in Sabah. Anwar also revealed plans for the implementation of the Digital Madani program, in collaboration with the Malaysian Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), to establish 30 digital economy centers (PEDi) across the country, positioning Felda as a leader in digital transformation.

    Experts have lauded these measures, with Prof Yeah Kim Leng, the Economic Studies Program Director at Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia, Sunway University, stating that they will contribute to raising income levels, improving living standards, and lightening the debt burden of Felda communities nationwide. He emphasizes that the digital transformation initiative, along with the Felda debt restructuring program and debt cancellation for settlers, will pave the way for a fresh start for both the organization and the settlers. Prof Barjoyai Bardai, an economist at Tun Abdul Razak University, agrees that the Digital Madani initiative is a promising seed for the growth of a new industry based on the digital economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0), especially for the Felda new generation. He calls for the establishment of a special institution to address health, safety, and social protection issues faced by Felda settlers and their families, recommending the use of an endowment system to generate annual income to cover facility costs and social protection expenses.

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    To ensure continuous improvement in the quality of life for Felda settlers and the protection of their welfare, Barjoyai suggests that the government should continue implementing and including these initiatives and incentives in the annual budget. He advises that the budget should be periodically increased to accommodate the growing number of Felda settlers and their family members. Anwar, being the Minister of Finance, assures that the government will specifically focus on the Felda issue in the upcoming Madani 2024 Budget.

    Dr. Shankaran Nambiar, a senior research fellow at the Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER), describes the Prime Minister’s announcement as a major initiative that covers all aspects of Felda settlers’ lives and aims to uplift their well-being. He further proposes modernizing agriculture and upgrading technology for Felda settlers to take agriculture to the next level.

    On Felda Settlers’ Day, Anwar revealed that the government had approved an annual allocation of up to RM1bil for Felda’s survival over 10 years, along with a commitment to write off RM8.3bil in settlers’ loans. The restructuring of Felda’s loan through government-guaranteed sukuk and revolving credit will reduce the principal debt by RM7.9bil and allow for an 80% write-off of settlers’ debt. This move will provide relief to settlers and alleviate the burden on Felda’s financial position.

    Dr. Noor Nirwandy Mat Noordin, a security and political analyst at Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Centre of Media & Information Warfare Studies, hails the government’s commitment to making Felda a leader in digital transformation through the Madani Digital Program. He believes that this program will not only empower the gig economy but also strengthen the economic security of the community. Dr. Noordin suggests establishing a unit and support system to ensure the participation and regular monitoring of the Felda generation in specific gig economy sectors to enhance the value of the gig economy strategically.

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    Overall, these initiatives and incentives demonstrate the government’s dedication to improving the lives of Felda settlers and positioning Felda as a leader in digital transformation and economic development.

    Credit: The Star : News Feed

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