MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
17 June 2010
Statement by Datuk Mohd Zaid Ibrahim, Parti Keadilan Rakyat Central Leadership Council Member, in response to the Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Ahmad Maslan's explanation on the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda)'s declining cash reserves:
Yesterday at parliament, the Deputy Minister Ahmad Maslan responded to questions about the agency's declining cash reserve (from RM4.08 billion in 2004 but dropped to RM1.35 billion in 2009 -- a plunge of RM2.73 billion in five years).
It is obvious that the Deputy Minister knows very little about Felda based on his answers in Parliament yesterday. He failed to explain what returns Felda may gain through its investments, instead of using the money for a shopping spree and for 'welfare purposes’, as it was described.
RM2 billion for replanting crops
RM2 billion is a huge sum for a replanting programme. The Deputy Minister should detail in full the allocation of RM2 billion: the number of settlers involved, land area, if this includes subsistence and income advance to the settlers in the programme and whether proper replanting standards are in place.
RM253 million for the Sabah poverty eradication fund
The Deputy Minister did not explain how was RM253 million disbursed, nor detail in full its beneficiaries. Did the money go directly to the poor settlers, or was it channelled to the Sabah state government, who is strapped for cash? If this is considered 'public welfare', we must wonder if Felda's statutory duty includes helping out a BN state government that is short of cash.
Menara Felda in Platinum Park, KL City Centre
The Deputy Minister did not explain why Felda paid 40% deposit (instead of the customary amount of 10%) to Naza TTDI for its new RM662 million headquarters, nor did he justify paying the price that is way above market price.
Closure of companies & unnecessary miscellaneous spending
Within the past 5 years, the following companies have closed down: Felda Rubber, Sutera Jaya and Felda Herbal. There should be a detailed explanation behind the reasons for the closures and whether this was due to further poor mismanagement.
There should be also an explanation on how RM4,000,000 to RM5,000,000 is spent to facilitate futsal competitions and also support the Felda Football Club. To place it some perspective, most national football associations have spent less on their national football teams, including those who have gone on to qualify for the World Cup.
The Minister -- not his deputy -- should be answering these questions in Parliament.
Public accountability is of utmost importance when taxpayers money are used.
I call upon Prime Minister Datuk Najib Tun Razak to relinquish his hold on Felda and let the organisation be managed professionally and in a transparent manner.
Member of Central Leadership Council (Majlis Pimpinan Pusat)
Parti Keadilan Rakyat