FEEL-GOOD FACTOR: Najib hits out at opposition lies as settlers bask over good fortune
JERANTUT: IT was like a carnival when more than 40,000 people thronged the main field of Felda Jengka 8 to join a gathering with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday.
Mostly Felda settlers and their family members from 317 Felda schemes nationwide, they had been waiting since early morning to listen to an important announcement by Najib, who is also the minister in charge of Felda.
Najib said he could feel the excitement when shaking hands with the crowd.
"With this kind of feeling on the ground, I think we can dissolve the Parliament tomorrow," he said in jest, prompting a thunderous applause from the crowd.
He also took a swipe at those who opposed the listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH), saying they did not deserve the benefits.
"They will always betray us but these thick-skinned people have no pride and will come to take all these benefits which are actually for Felda settlers who are sincere and loyal to us," he said, adding that he personally felt that such betrayers should never enjoy the windfall from the listing.
Najib also said Pahang was chosen for him to make the important announcement as it boasts the largest number of Felda schemes, including the first one opened in Lurah Bilut near Bentong in 1956.
"It also reminds me of my late father, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, every time I see the settlers' homes here as Felda was his brainchild and he had done a lot for the project."
Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, in his speech earlier, said regardless of the amount of windfall the settlers would be getting, the opposition would always find ways to spin the facts.
Some of them, he said, had also used the court to block the listing to ensure that the government's good intention to help the Felda community would not materialise.
"That is why we should never join this group. We should instead give our support to the prime minister to turn Felda into a global player and help him lead the country in years to come."
Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob, meanwhile, advised the Felda community to be grateful and not to fall into the opposition's trap of lies and deceptions.
"They have no other things to do except to oppose whatever the government wants to do for the people."
Felda settler Ismail Omar, 60, of Felda Ketengah Jaya, Kerteh, said he arrived at the venue as early as 7am as he did not want to miss out on the announcement.
"I never expected to get RM15,000 cash as I thought we will only be offered shares that can be sold later," said the father of five who joined the Felda scheme in 1979.
Hassan Sarti, 61, of Felda Palong 8, Negri Sembilan, said he almost fainted when he heard the amount of windfall settlers would be getting.
"Our long journey here is worthwhile with such good news," said Hassan who planned to perform umrah with the money.
Aishah Mohamad, 32, said the RM5,000 payment for the second generation of Felda settlers was a special gift to the children of settlers.
"It shows that the government appreciates our role and contributions. We never expected it but it will definitely help ease our burden," said the mother of three from Felda Jengka 8, who also received the government's one-off RM500 payment under the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia.