THEY did not want to talk about the mess at Felda Global Venture Holdings Bhd (FGV), nor did they want to comment on Prime Minister Najib Razak’s assurance that the issue will be resolved before Hari Raya.
The only thing the settlers at Felda Sayong would say on the issue was that they had told their leaders previously that FGV chairman Isa Samad had to go, since he carried a lot of baggage from his days as Menteri Besar.
And despite the issues surrounding FGV, the settlers The Malaysian Insight spoke to last night at Felda Sayong had this to say – they were grateful to Umno for all that they have done.
“I paid RM1 and I got 10 acres of land nearly 40 years ago. The earning I receive I get to feed my eight children. If not for Umno I will not be having any of this,” she said.
The single mother from Felda Simpang Waha was among thousands of settlers who had attended the breaking fast event with Najib at Felda Sayong last night.
She is the first generation of settlers in the area.
“We are merely the working class. We work to feed ourselves. Let the others take care of the mess at FGV. I am confident that things will be resolved,” said the woman in her 60s.
She was not even concerned about the shares she had bought in FGV. She took a RM10,000 loan and her monthly payment works out to about RM50.
The woman did not know how long the resettlement of the loan would take.
“It’s there in the agreement but I have not paid any attention to it,” she said, adding that the RM50 she paid monthly was not a big amount.
It was previously reported that each settler received 800 shares and it will take up to six years for them to pay off the loan.
However, the settler said she has not paid much compared to what she has gotten from Felda and FGV, and she was indebted to the government for what she has now.
Pakatan Harapan, led by Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been hitting the ground, holding ceramahs at Felda settlements and urban areas nationwide, urging voters depose the Najib administration in the 14th general election.
But this has no bearing either on another settler who said she frequently argues with her anti-government children.
“Without Felda, I would not be able to feed them, see them through school. They are where they are now because of Felda, Umno. I will continue to support the party all the way. My heart is still with the party despite whatever crisis it faces now,” she said.
Another settler agreed that Umno should remain in power and will continue to have the backing of Felda settlers.
However, he said some leaders, like Isa Samad, needs to go as many are not happy with how he managed FGV.
“Bad leaders are in every political party. It is not the fault of the party but the individual. At the end of the day, you can decide who you want to pick as a leader.
“For me, my party of choice will still be Umno. Why? I want a Malay as my leader. What guarantee can the opposition like Bersatu give. I rather vote for PAS if not Umno,” he said.
The breaking fast event last night was attended by about 5,000 people, including students and settlers from neighbouring Felda settlements.
They came by buses as early as 6pm in anticipation of the the Hari Raya handouts from Felda and FGV.
The bonuses were slightly more than last year, settlers received RM780 as compared with last year’s RM500.
FGV shares plummeted by 30% this week after the board instructed chief executive officer Zakaria Arshad and three others to go on leave pending an internal inquiry on the discrepancies in dealings between an FGV subsidiary and an Afghan company.
The MACC is also investigating allegations of abuse of power and corruption in FGV.