PRIDE AND JOY: Felda Sening residents are beaming with pride as their settlement is among the finalists of the Felda Village Beautification Award
KOTA TINGGI: UNIQUE lamp posts, flower gardens, and a standardised colour scheme for each home has added life to the landscape at Felda Sening, located 56km from Kota Tinggi.
These are among the efforts made by the 3,000 residents to beautify their neighbourhood, as part of an overall village development programme initiated three years ago.
The settler's efforts have paid off.
Felda Sening is among the finalists for the Anugerah Keceriaan Kampung Felda 2012 (AKKF) or Felda village beautification award.
Settlement manager Zakaria Nawar said a panel of judges who had visited the settlement on May 21, was full of praise for the standardised grey-coloured paint job for each house.
Another attractive item is the lamp posts, which are square-shaped concrete pillars with lamps on top.
They also double as letter boxes, and have signs displaying the settler's name and address written in Jawi.
"Our street signs are named after birds, and some of the signs have a photo of the bird to help children learn more about them," said Zakaria.
"There are also wooden gazebos at each block, while every garden must be planted with hibiscus as it is our settlement's official flower."
Zakaria said the village beautification programme had gained momentum last year following the Gotong-royong Perdana event that was spearheaded by Felda Johor Baru regional general manager, Hanafi Suhada.
The beautification programme is aimed at forging closer ties among members of the community, and to give residents a sense of pride for their neighbourhood.
"Our settlement is among 19 nationwide that are in the running for the RM1 million prize in the AKKF. The winner will be announced during the Sambutan Hari Peneroka at Menara Felda in Kuala Lumpur on July 7," said Zakaria.
Meanwhile, Felda Sening village head, Juraimi Jawahir, 63, said the neighbourhood's beautification programme had brought together the residents and has enabled them to become closer.
"There is always an activity held every week which involves all the residents. We have been working together to spruce up the area. This has created stronger bonds among neighbours, and every one can be proud of their achievement in beautifying their neighbourhood."
Juraimi, who moved to Felda Sening from Gelang Patah 31 years ago, said the men contributed their own earnings to buy flower seeds to plant at their gardens. The women folk helped out by sowing the seeds and planting shrubs.
Another resident Jamilah Nordin, 54, said the beautiful landscape has encouraged many more to organise outdoor events at the settlement.
"Members of the settlement's Gerakan Persatuan Wanita (GPW), which I head, often conduct walks throughout the neighbourhood under the Seribu Langkah (a thousand steps) exercise programme," said Jamilah.
"The residents have also set up a new Hutan Bandar, which is a mini-recreational park which can be used for jogging and walking. The park is still being developed, but would become an added attraction once it is fully completed."
Another Felda Sening resident, Mahmad Mahmud, 71, who owns a family-run songket business, said the settlement has grown by leaps and bounds since he first moved into in it during the late 1970s.
"I was a fishermen in Sedili before I moved my family at the settlement. Since then, we have earned a comfortable living from the produce of our oil palm plantation.
"The earnings from my oil palm yield helped me set up a songket business, which is run by my wife Esah Ismail, and our daughters Roykiah, Mariani and Mariam. They are the ones who weave and market the songket," said the Terengganu-born Mahmad.
Esah, 66, said Felda Sening not only prided itself as having a unique landscape but is the only Felda settlement with a songket-making premises. The family weave their songket at a mini-factory-cum gallery at their home.