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800ha land for oil palm venture


CONCERNED GOVERNMENT: Tamil schools to benefit from the profits, says Zambry

THOUSANDS of poor students from here will stand to benefit from the 800ha parcel of land given to 134 Tamil schools by the state government for an oil palm venture.

Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abd Kadir said they would begin to reap financial benefits between three and five years from now.

"The state government's decision to donate the parcel of land to the Tamil schools reflects our concern for Tamil-medium education in the state, both at the primary and secondary levels.

"This is more than the annual RM1 million allocation set aside in the state's budget for the schools," he said after chairing the weekly state executive council meeting yesterday.

Present were Zambry's special adviser Datuk S. Veerasingam, National Land Finance Cooperative Society (NLFCS) chairman Tan Sri K.R. Somasundram and its chief executive officer Datuk B. Sahadevan.

Zambry said this was contrary to claims by the opposition that the state was not doing anything to help the community.

He said the 800ha site was in Besout in Sungkai and would be managed by NFLCS.

"NFLCS is a well-respected institution in a good position, as far as the Indian community is concerned.

"We are confident that it will be able to help reap the benefits towards an education fund for the community."

Zambry said a foundation -- to be named the Perak Indian Education Development Foundation -- would be set up soon, with its members, who are respected figures in the Indian community, managing it.

He said NFLCS would probably take after the Suwa model.

Suwa, which comprises nine Chinese independent schools in the state, had entered into an agreement in March last year between Semangat Suwa Sdn Bhd, a company set up by the nine schools, and Sawit Langkap Sdn Bhd.

The plan was to develop a 1,000ha parcel of land given to them by the state government for an oil palm venture.

The land, also in Besout, was set aside by the state government in July 2010 and belonged to Semangat Suwa, but was cultivated by Sawit Langkap.

Through this venture, the profits earned would be able to cover part of the administrative costs of managing the schools.

Somasundram said NFLCS had conducted visits to the site.

He added that he hoped for work on the land to begin as soon as possible.

"All this is for the benefit of poor Indian students in the state.

"We are excited about this initiative and expect to make profit soon."

Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir (centre) and Datuk S. Veerasingam after the meeting yesterday. Pic by L. Manimaran

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