An Economically Viable Cooperative Society
The NLFCS was formed on 14thMay 1960. When the estate fragmentation was at its height in the 1960s, the NLFCS was formed as a means to buy the fragmented estates to alleviate the pain and suffering of thousands of workers who lost their livelihood and dwelling places. Tun V.T Sambanthan, a Cabinet minister and the President of MIC failed to stop the estate fragmentation and also seek Government intervention to help the estate workers.
However, he set up the NLFCS as a cooperative society and sought to buy the fragmented estates. The Government, on its part gave the NLFCS all the support and assistance. The NLFCS shares were sold at RM100 each. The members were required to pay RM10 every month as down payment for the shares. In the initial days of formation, the NLFCS had 15,000 members and RM1.7 million as accumulated capital. The membership increased to 29,000 shortly thereafter with a capital accumulation of RM7.6 million. The NLFCS grew to be one of the biggest co- operative societies in Malaysia.
Bukit Cheeding Estate in Kedah was the first purchase of the NLFCS. The estate was valued at RM3.3 million and had acreage of 2875. In the 1970s, The NLFCS acquired about 20 estates. In the following decade, some of these estates were sold by NLFCS. In 1988, the membership of the cooperative stood at 75,000 with a capital accumulation of RM212 million.
Its landmark in Kuala Lumpur is the 28 storey Wisma Tun Sambanthan. The building cost RM60 million to construct.
The NLFCS is an economically viable cooperative society. At one time, it acquired the Plantation House from the NUPW. The hall is now rented out for various functions. The NLFC introduced a basic salary scheme to all the estate workers who are in its payroll. This was an innovation in the history of estates in Malaysia. It also offers scholarships and study loans to member’s children who intend to pursue higher education.