On the 23 August 2012, I wrote the following:
This was the way the British divided and ruled. Eventually, swayed by the profit they were earning from the Malay States that they forgot their promise to the Sultans which was to protect the interest and welfare of the Malays. The bulk of the Malays lived in rural areas and they had very minimal contact with the other races, the Chinese were basically in towns and tin mines, while the Indians were in rubber plantations. The effect to this was that the Malays remained backwards and were told to stay as peasants or tillers of the soil, the Chinese inherited all the tradings in the Malay States and became the richest residents, and the Indians remained as rubber-tappers without proper infrastructure. The Malays, according to Chai Hon-Chan:
“…merely retreated from the tide of commercial activity and material prosperity…whereas the British, Europeans, Chinese and Indians had the lion share of the country’s wealth…”
As a result, the Malays who were given land to cultivate, forced by economic disadvantages, began charging or creating a lien (collateral) over their land to the Chettiars. The Malays, already in a disadvantaged position, cried foul and started the “Malaya for Malays” movement in the late 1800s. EW Birch, the 8th British Resident of Perak, recognized this dire situation and quickly proposed a policy of preserving the Malay land. The only way to him to preserve the Malay race was to “free them from the clutches of those people who now remit to Indian large sums of money, which they bleed from the (Malay) people.”
The Malays were in a very disadvantageous position just before Merdeka, one of the reasons the Malayan Union was rejected so as to protect the rights and position of the Malays then.
FELDA was created 60 years ago to provide organised smallholders farming through resettlement of rural Malay poor who did not own any land. A year later Tunku Abdul Rahman launched the first settlement in Air Lanas, Kelantan where 400 settlers were relocated.
FELDA has grown into a very respectable organisation and has diversified its activities. FELDA Global Ventures, although separated in terms of its structure, is the third largest palm oil company in the world by acreage that also has downstream activities in oleochemicals.
Of late, FGV has not been performing well. Being in Malaysia, the government gets the blame although FGV has its own board. And the Opposition pins the blame on one person and one person only: Najib Razak.
Reading Raja Petra’s latest instalment does make me wonder if Isa Samad who is both the Chairman of FELDA and FGV is aware of the damage FELDA is causing to UMNO.
The allegations that Isa Samad and family is using FELDA/FGV as personal treasure chests is not something new. My only question is why is this cancer not nipped in the bud?
It is still not too late for Najib Razak to act, and act he must! It would be sad to see a legacy left by his late father and the Tunku before that, that started in Air Lanas, be ruined by greed and irresponsible behaviours.
And what more if it is true as Raja Petra alleged that FELDA is being used to destroy UMNO in the upcoming general elections.
I can only echo a post on Facebook by Azmi Arshad – act now and save FELDA!
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