Felda to stay as BN’s vote bank, says Isa

(The Star) – The country’s 317 Felda plantations will continue to remain as Barisan Nasional’s strongholds despite sustained efforts by the Oppo­sition to mislead the settlers.

Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad said the Opposition has been doing this since the 1980s when rubber prices hit rock bottom and would not stop doing so.

There are some 112,600 families living in these settlements.

“The settlers, influenced by the Opposition, had then blamed Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (former prime minister) for their misery as the global economy crises forced rubber prices to come down to as low as 40sen a kg.

“In recent months, they have made so many more allegations including accusing Felda of being bankrupt … they are not going to stop as they have nothing else to do,” he told reporters after closing a seminar for Felda cooperatives.

Isa said due to the Opposition’s continued slander and attempts to penetrate the settlements, Barisan would have to work equally hard to neutralise these.

He however admitted that a fraction of the settlers had already been taken in by these lies and were now supportive of the Opposition.

On allegations that some Felda settlements in Sabah were not accorded facilities given to those in the peninsula, Isa said these were again desperate lies by the Opposition which had run out of ideas.

“They are all given the same treatment.

“In fact, Felda has given higher housing loans to the settlers in Felda Sahabat in Lahad Datu which was located in a remote area to enable them to build their homes,” he said.

Isa said Felda also provided opportunities for the children of the settlers to pursue their studies.