KUALA LUMPUR – April 11, 2018: It is the norm come every election and while most Malaysians can claim to have seen and heard it all, the crunch is who among these parties will be the one to honour most if not all of the pledges.
From the armed forces to students on borrowed money to housewives and lay Malaysians, there seems to be no better time than this. It’s goodies galore and even if only half of the promises are delivered within the next five years at least, the more grateful amongst Malaysians would raise their hands towards the heavens to say “thank you god… we are forever grateful for this good fortune”.
Not to be left out and, one must say a community every political party will not risk neglecting, are settlers in the Felda schemes. There’s an estimated 125,000 Felda families in all and add three or four more in each family who are eligible to vote and you have quite a sizeable vote bank there.
The ruling Barisan Nasional coalition has pledged a special grant for replanting worth up to RM7,500 per hectare for each qualified settler and also to reduce up to 70 per cent of the replanting debts over the next five years.
There will also be a special fund of up to RM300 million to write-off extreme debts for the same period while each settler is also promised a special incentive of RM5,000.
In terms of infrastructure, roads up to 422 kilometres long will be upgraded, as are 419km of sewerage pipelines.
The promises by the main opposition Pakatan Harapan pact include the setting up of a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate what it deems to be Felda-related scandals.
Another pledge is to have Felda refocus on its core business, which is the plantations sector.