Felda chairman’s take on settlers' unwavering support for govt
Question: As an Umno veteran who has gone through a lot, what do you think Umno should do to win the next general election? Answer: Umno is a party with unique strengths.
The thing now is how are we going to manage our strengths? We have to go back to basics, go down to the ground to ensure that every single party member and supporter out there will vote for the Barisan Nasional (BN).
If we, as well as our component parties, could do this, I am sure Umno and BN will have no problem winning. Umno must also get the support of party sympathisers and fence-sitters like government servants, who largely have been supporting us although they are not party members.
Secondly, the party has to get rid of infighting and internal bickering. Every member must be made to understand that internal problems will only ruin the party.
Thirdly, we must be able to handle all allegations hurled by the opposition, so that the public will know that we are right. We need to work hard to handle issues raised by the opposition and ensure the public does not fall for the lies spread by it.
Question: The party president has said Umno veterans must be ready to make way for winnable candidates. Being a person who understands enough of your fellow old-timers, do you think they are ready for this?Answer: It does not matter if the person is new or a veteran as long as they are fit to win. Datuk Seri Najib Razak did not mention about candidates' age but "winnable" candidates. If they are not fit, they should step aside.
And if they are not chosen, they need to accept the chosen ones with an open heart.
Whether they are ready or not to give way, it depends very much on the individual.
If they really understand the president's message, they will accept it. The most important thing is to give full trust to the party's leadership as they have the resources to assess who is capable of winning. What is important today is to win the general election.
I, myself, wouldn't mind giving way to other people as long as this helps the party win the general election.
Question: As Felda chairman, is the claim that many Felda settlers have turned to the opposition true?Answer: From what I have observed, Felda settlers are overall still solidly behind us.
There may be a small number supporting the opposition. These are frustrated people who went against the government only after they did not get what they wanted, such as positions.
I believe the majority of the Felda settlers, especially the first and second generations who have seen the progress under BN, still support Umno and BN.
Felda settlers have never been neglected.
No matter how the opposition tries, they are still with us.
Question: Do you think the planned listing of Felda Global Ventures (FGV) on the stock exchange will affect the settlers' support for Umno and BN?Answer: There is no reason at all for the Felda community to disagree or reject the FGV listing as it is very good not only to the settlers, but also to the country. The issue now is to make them understand how this listing works. We will explain every detail about it soon. As for now, we are still bound by several regulations of the Securities Commission. When the time comes, we will do that, and hopefully, the settlers will accept it as we are only trying to help them.
I have also conducted road shows in several Felda settlements. I believe when they truly understand what we are doing, they will have no reason to reject it.
Question: The Umno president has said in his presidential speech that it is a must for Umno to attract young voters to ensure the party's and BN's survival. What is your take on this?Answer: I totally agree with Datuk Seri Najib because the time now is different. To win the next general election, we need the support of young Malaysians as they make up a large number of voters. I hope starting from today, Umno, especially its Youth and Puteri members, will work harder to garner the support of young people to join BN.