Press Statement (9 April 2012)

We refer to the listing of Felda under the operation by Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH). We PKR Sabah put on record our strong objection because we believe the FGVH will be pledging the 306,000 acres of land under Sabah Felda in its listing exercise; to raise RM6 billion to pay out, among others, bonus for the settlers in Peninsular Malaya.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Myhydin’s announcement on 7/4/2012 that only State land under FGVH will be pledged and not the settlers lands. On 8/4/2012, the Felda Chairman said the same thing, that Felda would pledge State lands that are under the BN government if the PR State government refuse to pledge their land.

We are very concerned that Felda will be pledging the 306,000 acres of Sabah land under the Sabah Felda to the FGVH. This is in breach of the agreement Felda entered with the State government in 1979 during the Berjaya government.

By an agreement with the Sabah State government in 1979 (Felda agreement), in exchange of 306,000 acres of land allocated to Felda, Felda pledged to develop land settlement schemes in Sabah for the local people, not illegal immigrant as what is happening now.

Further, under the 1979 Felda agreement, Felda must form a Select Committee to manage the selection and appointment of Settlers for the settlement scheme in the land allocated. Felda must appoint at least two members to represent the Sabah State Government as members for this Select Committee which shall consist of four members but with a Felda member as chairman. It was also agreed in the Felda agreement that the settler selected by the Select committee shall be entitled to, among others, engaged in the development and maintenance of land allocated subject to payment of wages and dividend.

To date only less than 10% of the 306,000 acres land allocated to Felda Sabah had been developed. Yet Felda refuses to hand over the developed land to the original local owners and to return the undeveloped land to the State government which is in breach of the Felda agreement.

Instead, in the disguise of the federal government’s involvement in providing “basic infrastructure and facilities” within the land settlement scheme, Sabah Felds unilaterally taken over the total control of the 306,000 acres of land with no consideration for the original land owners and the state government. It is also part of the term in the Felda agreement that they must provide housing plot for families of the settlers in addition to wages.

We do not know what is happening to the management of Felda Sabah,. Exactly how much land been developed and returned to the original owners, how many of our local settlers have been selected, benefited and living within the settlement scheme, if there are two representatives from the State government in the select committee and who they are and how much profits it has generated from the 306,000 acres of land that have been planted with oil palm. No accounts was reported or disclosed on their annual returns. The people of Sabah have the right to know. It is Sabah’s land, under the management of Felda for settlement development purpose only. It should by right benefit the local natives and people of Sabah as part of the eradication of poverty for the hard core poor in Sabah. If we divide 306,000 acres of land to 10 acres per family, 30,600 poor families will be benefited.

We demand that the State government steps up its effort in the eradication of hard core poor by taking back the land from Felda Sabah instead of letting them pledging our land to raise fund for their settlers.

I challenge the BN leaders to stop this listing exercise pledging Sabah’s land by FGVH. So many of our natives are landless and in dire need of a piece of land that they depend their livelihood with but were deprived of.

Christina Liew
Chairperson, PKR KK Division
Cum Supreme Council Member