JELEBU – Hussin Jalani, 72, was a religious teacher when he quit the job in 1979 to be a settler in the Felda land scheme.
It was a decision made with a heavy heart, he said, but on a strong believe that “working the land” would provide a better future for him and his family.
Indeed, it was a right decision made by Hussin, or popularly known as “Ustaz Hussin” , as he now enjoys an average monthly income of RM4,000 and in a year, of between RM48,000 and RM50,000, from his four hectare oil palm scheme.
“It’s a sacrifice for everyone who joined the land scheme in those days because we had to leave our village and loved ones, and not knowing where the place (Felda land scheme) and the condition there.
“The condition then was very bad. We were given a house with one room, a kitchen, and outside the house was the toilet, with the four walls in zinc sheet,” he told Bernama.
Hussin said Felda Lui Timur was opened in 1978 and when he joined the land scheme the following year, there were 601 settlers.
“I have been with Felda for 38 years, and for certain, the early years were difficult, but with determination to achieve what we came here for , and with the cooperation from Felda in providing the various facilities, such as schools, mosque and kindergarten, it got better and better over the years.
Hussin, who is now a motivational speaker and often invited to give talks in the Felda land scheme, said through Felda, he had been able to visit 28 countries.
“If I did not quit my job as a religious teacher then, the highest I would go is resign as a headmaster, but now, as a settler, I have property, with the land title given to me in 2006,” said the man who was awarded the Negeri Sembilan “Tokoh Maal Hijrah” award in 2011 .
He said he now lived a comfortable life and with no worry for the future of the next generation as everything had been built by the the first generation settlers.
He said the Felda Community had progressed tremendously.
“For example, we get Hari Raya aid and bonus every year, and many others. What more do we want?
“Before, at Felda Lui Timur, there were only about seven or eight cars and 15 to 20 motorcycles. Other than that there were only old bicycles.
“With the progress, there are more than four cars at a settler’s house, and I have seen a settler’s house with 12 cars. This proves that their (settlers) success is because of Felda. I, myself, have three cars,” he said.
On the six incentives announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the Settlers Day celebration last July 23, Hussin said he was shocked with the announcement.
The incentives announced by the prime minister included in the form of debt disposals, incentive payments, setting up of special fund and grant and housing incentive, involving an allocation of RM519 million. — Bernama