LAHAD DATU: In accomplishing the company’s corporate social responsibility obligations, the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) focuses on security, educational and social programmes which are of benefit to the state and people of Sabah.
These three aspects are essential in ensuring that Sabah’s development is on par with other states and are factors which will enable the rich resources of the state to be fully explored.
Felda Wilayah Sahabat general manager Hasrin Ismail said during the 2013 Lahad Datu incursion (by a group of Sulu terrorists) in Tanduo, KINI college and the annex building were loaned to the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF) to house military personnel on duty.
“When the crisis ended, the buildings were handed over to the MAF and have since been converted as the 13th Brigade headquarters for Cenderawasih Camp,” he told Bernama.
In addition, he said, Felda had also allowed the MAF to build a permanent military base on a 500-acre (202.34-hectare) site on Felda Sahabat land and donated four motorcycle units to the MAF for the purpose of patrolling and monitoring high-risk areas in the Felda Sahabat villages or plantation areas.
He said Felda had been working closely with the security forces to ensure that the Tanduo incident would not recur, thus ensuring the safety of their settlers as well as the people of Sabah.
In terms of education, Hasrin said Felda had been providing educational assistance particularly to students in Year 6, Form 3 and Form 5 in schools around the east coast of Sabah.
He explained that since 2017 several education schemes had been created with funds of RM384,995 to help the target groups achieve better results in the examinations.
Among the programmes were the Felda Tuition Scheme, Education Excellence Fund and Scheme, Educational Growth Achievement Scheme and Education Partnership.
He said up to last year, a total of 1,555 students were selected to participate in the schemes.
According to Hasrin, Felda also placed strong emphasis on the social wellbeing and development of the people of Sabah.
“From 2016 to date, Felda had contributed over RM18,406,000 which had provided various developments for the benefit of the local population,” he explained.
He said Felda also constructed a water treatment plant for Kampung Tanjung Labian residents while a 1.5mld balancing tank and two service tanks were installed for the residents of Kampung Tanjung Labian, Kampung Lok Buani and Kampung Tanjung Batu in Lahad Datu, all at a cost of RM15.8 million.
“Other Felda CSR initiatives included the upgrading of the entrance road to Kampung Murut and building of new roads in Kampung Pinang, Kalabakan, as well as repairs to the damaged slope behind the Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Desa Kencana in Lahad Datu and repairs to homes of the poor in Sabah,” he added.
In the meantime, Hasrin hoped Sabah Felda settlers would continue to maintain the spirit of togetherness in all aspects of community life as well as in managing the plantations
In line with 2020 Felda Settlers’ Day themed ‘Peneroka Perintis, Berani dan Suka Cabaran’, Hasrin said settlers need to stay ahead and must ensure that the objective to become an exemplary rural community could be achieved.
Felda in Sabah started after the agency was invited by the state government to assist in the development of rural settlements following which an agreement was signed on February 12, 1979.
Subsequently, Felda Wilayah Sahabat was established on a 124,389-hectare site and it was divided into clusters namely Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu with 871 settlers and Felda Umas in Kalabakan which is home to 776 settlers.