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JERANTUT: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak emphasised today that settlers had a right to enjoy their present benefits as they have worked hard for more than half a century on the land development programme in order to change their fate.
He noted that many on the outside viewed the settlers as the Prime Minister's 'golden children' following the various incentives and benefits accorded to them lately.
"If the settlers are getting more, don't be envious and begrudge them because they've fought for more than half a century.
"The weak ones returned to their old villages," he said during his speech at the Felda Kasih programme in Padang Piol, near here today.
Also present were deputy minister in Prime Minister's Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan and Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad.
He remarked that the success by Felda and its settlers was not easily attained through the 56 years.
"Many want to return to Felda, they sent letters to me, Ahmad Maslan and Tan Sri Isa.
"Felda's contribution is large indeed, many settlers are successful, and many are senior government officials and professionals," he added.
Speaking to reporters after the function, Najib said Felda's success also benefited the communities around it.
He cited the Kasih Programme launched today as an example, saying the programme's objective was to repair the houses within traditional villages in the vicinity of 317 Felda settlements.
The programme allocated RM5,000 per family based on the Felda Foundation guidelines in its project to restore traditional houses surrounding Felda developments.
The first phase involved 4,000 villagers, whose eligibility would be decided by the relevant members of parliament and state assemblymen, with a RM20 million allocation managed by Felda. -- BERNAMA