FELDA should welcome Pakatan Harapan’s FELDA Convention and not be afraid to send its highest officials to the Convention to assure 100,000 FELDA settlers all is well with FELDA based on the precept “Berani kerana benar”

I am surprised to read the latest Bernama news that FELDA is highly offended by the FELDA Convention organized by Pakatan Harapan in Shah Alam next Sunday, March 19, declaring its objection and stressing that FELDA is no way involved in the forthcoming FELDA Convention.

In a statement, FELDA director-general Datuk Hanapi Suhada said FELDA had never given any permission to use the FELDA name for the Pakatan Harapan convention

Hanapi said: “Lately there are some quarters who are out to disturb the harmony and wellbeing of Felda settlers. The latest being Pakatan Harapan which plans to hold the ‘Konvensyen Felda, Kelangsungan Felda Melalui Pengupayaan dan Pendidikan’ (Felda Convention: Felda Continuity through Capacity Building and Education) in Shah Alam on March 19.

“The use of the Felda name in the title will confuse the settlers and the public at large.”

Hanapi said Felda viewed the matter seriously as there could be misrepresentation which could affect the harmony and wellbeing of settlers in its land schemes.

Hanapi claimed that since the authority was founded in 1956, Felda had never strayed from its core objective of raising the standard of living of its settler community in the 317 land schemes throughout the country.

This is a most extraordinary and even hysterical statement, reflecting a most petty and small-minded mentality.

I will be most surprised if Hanapi’s statement had the blessing of the new FELDA Chairman and MP for Johor Baru, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, which means that the veteran UMNO politician has changed considerably since becoming FELDA Chairman.

If Hanapi is so confident that FELDA and FELDA settlers have benefitted enormously from able and competent FELDA management and stewardship, why is he chary of sending the highest FELDA officials to the FELDA Convention next Sunday to assure 100,000 FELDA settlers all is well with FELDA based on the precept “Berani kerana benar”?

If there are voices about weaknesses, mistakes and even scandals in FELDA, surely the FELDA Convention next Sunday will provide an excellent venue for Hanapi and his officials to prove the naysayers wrong – unless there is indeed some basis and truth in the criticisms about FELDA leadership and stewardship especially in the past two decades?

I will urge Shahrir to ensure that good sense prevail in the FELDA leadership and management to adopt a positive and co-operative approach to the FELDA Convention next Sunday and to ensure that FELDA send top representatives to fully participate in the Pakatan Harapan FELDA Convention next Sunday.

[Speech (2) at Dewan Sri Cheeding after visiting Kg Jenjarom and Kg Sri Cheeding during Jelajah Desa to Teluk Datuk State Assembly Constituency, Selangor on Saturday, 11th March 2017 at 9.30 am]

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