FELDA was created as a government program intended to give the rural poor a fresh start in their life. The program worked really well in its early years, providing settlers land to farm and live on while creating communities in new frontiers.
Mismanagement and lack of forward-looking planning lead to the decline of FELDA settlements, previous Barisan government failures in ensuring FELDA settlements are equipped with proper infrastructure has resulted in broken communities within the settlements. Without decent infrastructure such as paved roads, well-equipped schools, and commercial centres, it has proven hard for the settlers to diversify their communities beyond agriculture. This situation has restricted career opportunities for the second generation of FELDA settlers, causing a majority of them to move out of their communities into bigger cities in search of better employment.
Pakatan Harapan promised to fix this in our general election manifesto and just nine months in, we have started work on this with additional allocations to bring FELDA’s infrastructure on par with other towns and cities. FELDA settlers can rest assured that we will continue to do so, as long as we are in power as the Pakatan Harapan government is committed to good governance for the people.
Neglect in providing quality education to the children of the settlers’ has led some of them into a problematic adulthood, with social problems plaguing the communities. Emigration into bigger cities by the younger generation further drains FELDA’s settlement of talent pool, leaving the less fortunate behind together with the elderly to fend for themselves. Some succumb to drugs addiction and all sorts of social ills, causing issues within the communities that must be fixed immediately.
Years of neglect must be corrected, the Ministry of Education should provide some special quotas in our MRSMs, boarding schools, and public universities for the neglected settlers’ children, who are part of our important future generation, to rectify this neglect. This is our fifth special commitment to FELDA in the last general election and we intend to keep to it.
Recognising the diversity of human potential, vocational and technical training should also be provided for current and future generation of FELDA settlers to diversify the talent pool of FELDA settlements. Going forward, more TVET institution should be located within FELDA communities to provide a supply of skilled labour which then would attract industrial diversification for the community.
Technical and vocational training will also be available for the young adults within the community who would like to specialise in a new field. Potentially supplementing the agricultural activities with maintenance and maybe even production of farming tools and machineries.
The potential for growth is limitless when proper support and infrastructure is in place. The previous Barisan government clearly has neglected these aspect of human capital development and perhaps done it on purpose, to keep the FELDA settlers forever dependent on them in order to retain their votes indefinitely. The Pakatan Harapan government will ensure that such neglect would never happen again.