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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Felda settlers get RM144 million windfall

Some 85,000 Felda settlers across the country will be paid incentive bonuses totalling RM144.44 million in December, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

“The total is less than the RM146.39 million paid out last year but the payment rate was improved because of higher palm oil and rubber prices besides the increase in acreage in replanting which further boosted production,” he said.

Najib said although the number of recipients this year totalling 84,581 was less than last year’s total of 90,322 settlers, there were more settlers eligible for the top bracket of the incentive scheme, which was also increased from RM1,800 to RM2,000.

He told this to reporters after chairing Felda’s top management’s monthly meeting here today.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said the minimum payment was also raised from RM600 to RM700.

The maximum rate involved 59,924 settlers or 53.2 per cent while 7,283 people or 6.47 per cent received the minimum rate. Najib said 28,055 settlers or 24.9 per cent did not get any incentives because they did not file in their production reports or did not qualify.

“Settlers who manaqe their acreage themselves are also not eligible for this incentive,” he said, adding that the payment would be in the form of cash and not share certificates in Koperasi Permodalan Felda Bhd (KPF).

He said the government hoped the incentive payments would spur the settlers to further increase their productivity. He added that the government was committed to ensuring their monthly earning did not dip below RM1,000 in the current bearish market.

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