Felda seems to be making many silly mistakes and these mistakes can harm Umno and in the same process Prime Minister Najib. Since Isa Samad’s appointment as Felda Chairman five years ago, the agency, once-touted as the most impressive in the world, is going downhill. The question here is whether Isa is incompetent or whether he is competently serving Mahathir’s agenda.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Felda, that was started by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s father, was once the pride of the nation. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations used to send delegation after delegation to Malaysia on study tours to find out how Felda became so successful and how this success could be emulated in South America and Africa.
Yes, for once Malaysia had done something that the world wanted to copy and for once Malaysia taught the world how to do it. But that is now something in the past. The Felda ‘glory’ of past has been relegated to a footnote in history just like the once powerful and dominant Johor-Riau Empire of the Malays.
So what went wrong? Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad is what went wrong. Isa was appointed the new Felda Chairman in 2011 and since then Felda, the pride of the nation, is the albatross around Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s neck. And what we want to discuss today is why this is happening and what is the agenda behind all this plus who is benefiting from it.
Mahathir will deliver 54 Felda seats to add to DAP’s 45 Chinese seats
One very crucial piece of information that we must note is that initially Lim Kit Siang was reluctant to work with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. DAP monopolised more than 90% of the Chinese votes so they were confident of winning 45 parliament seats. What can Mahathir bring to the table to match DAP’s 45 seats?
Mahathir told Kit Siang he can bring 54 parliament seats to the table and he explained how he was going to do it. Basically, Mahathir had his ‘inside-man’ in Felda who was going to help swing the Felda seats; 54 in total. After listening to Mahathir’s plan, Kit Siang was convinced it can be done. In fact, Kit Siang was already seeng it happen. However, before this Kit Siang could not figure out what was going on. Now it makes sense as to why Felda appears to be committing hara-kiri.
Many political observers and analysts suspect that Isa is a Mahathir Trojan Horse whose job is to bring Felda to the point of destruction so that this can be used against Umno in the next general election. And today we shall explore whether this is actually the case. What cannot be ascertained at this point, though, is whether Isa is collaborating with Mahathir for personal gain or whether Mahathir is blackmailing him. And with Isa’s container-loads of skeletons, there is certainly much that you can blackmail Isa with.
As we said earlier, there are 45 parliament seats which are Chinese-dominated and which DAP has monopoly over. However, there are more than 100 parliament seats which are Malay-dominated and 54 of these seats are in the Felda areas. Hence to capture the majority of the Malay seats you need to capture the 54 Felda seats. And, as Rafizi Ramli said (read below), you need only a 5% voter swing in Felda votes to achieve that — just 5%.
Isa only looks stupid but is actually smarter than he looks
So, the question is: is Isa a nincompoop or is he actually very clever and is turning Felda into a political time-bomb that is going to hurt Umno big-time in the next general election? If you know Isa personally then you will know he is no fool. He is actually a very slimy character who knows how to get what he wants. And what he wants is basically power and he has been known to have spent tens of millions towards that end.
In 2004, PKR’s Information Chief, Ruslan Kassim, left PKR to join Umno together with 11 other party leaders. Amongst that group, whom we dubbed ‘The Dirty Dozen’, was Muhammad Zahid Mohamed Arip a.k.a. Zahid Mat Arip. Zahid was well-known in PKR as a ‘Mister Fixit’. He could fix anything for the right price.
A few months later, Zahid emerged as Isa Samad’s campaign manager, who was then the Federal Territories Minister. Zahid’s campaign strategy was so successful that Isa won the Umno Vice Presidency with the highest number of votes (read below).
Then the reason how Isa won so impressively was revealed. Isa had spent tens of millions to buy votes and Zahid was one of his agents who spread the money around. But then Isa was found out and action was taken against him and he was suspended from the party for six years (read below).
Zahid Mat Arip, Isa Samad’s agent, and Ezam Mohd Nor: now key players in Mahathir’s Pribumi
But all that is water under the bridge and the reason we are talking about it is so that we can establish the link between Isa and Zahid, which goes back 12 years to 2004. And that link was never severed. It continued until today and today Zahid is Isa’s link to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
That one fact alone is evidence that Isa is not stupid but is actually very clever and that what he is doing to Felda is an act of sabotage. Mahathir sabotaged 1MDB by blocking all loans to the company and by torpedoing the IPO. But that still failed to bring Najib down. So now Mahathir is using Felda to try to bring Najib down. And for that to happen Felda must not only fail but must fail in a big way.
The thing is, while Isa is messing up Felda big-time, it is Najib and not Isa who is being blamed. Anything that goes wrong in Malaysia is blamed on Najib. Even when PI Bala got a heart attack and died they tried to blame Najib for it as well. So do you think they will find it hard to believe that Najib and not Isa is to be blamed for whatever happens to Felda?
And what the hell are the rest of the Felda board members doing? Has Isa bought them off or are they all just plain idiots. And am I the one and only Malaysian out of 30 million Malaysians who realises the damage that Felda is doing to Najib and that if not addressed can result in Barisan Nasional losing the next general election? So Najib cannot and should not take either Felda or Isa Samad for granted.
Politics is a game of perception and the perception on Felda is not good. Rafizi announced they are going to tour the Felda settlements to inform the settlers about the disaster in Felda and they hope this will swing at least 5% of the voters, which is enough to bring down Umno and Barisan Nasional — which means bring down Najib as well. So do not say that Najib and Umno have not been warned.
PKR is going to use the Felda disaster to bring down Umno and Barisan Nasional
And what is wrong with Isa? He appoints someone like Zahid as his PA even though the former did not pass his secondary school exam and who is now a supreme council member of Pribumi or PPBM. Zahid is a person of very low intellectuality so we can assume the only reason Isa wants Zahid is not because of his brain but because he is a Mister Fixit and is the link to Mahathir.
That one point alone is enough to raise doubts as to whether Isa is serving Najib or he is serving Mahathir. And from where I sit it appears like Isa is serving Mahathir. And when you add the complaints such as late payments to the settlers and issues related to replanting, it makes one wonder where Isa’s loyalty lies. Isa appears to be doing what they did to 1MDB in 2013 and 2014 — which was to sabotage the IPO and block the bank loans.
Felda is investing in non-core businesses and businesses all over the world. Isa appears to be draining Felda’s coffers so that there is not enough money to pay the settlers and to embark upon replanting (READ HERE: Felda to proceed with RM534 mil project in London). With very little money left, the Felda settlers are being neglected and this creates a pool of very unhappy and disgruntled voters in 54 parliament seats that, if not careful, can fall to the opposition. Malays call this neglecting your own child while feeding milk to monkeys in the forest.
The Auditor General’s Report 2015 Series 2 tabled in Parliament last month gave a very bleak picture on Felda. Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Paul Low Seng Kuan said the problem highlighted in the audit report was an issue of breakdown in governance and integrity of people responsible. (READ MORE HERE)
So what more evidence do you need? Isa appears to be sabotaging Felda while giving an appearance he is just plain incompetent. And this can and, if not addressed, will result in Umno losing 54 seats in the next general election. Added to DAP’s 45 seats, all they need is 13 more seats to form the next federal government. And hence Felda will succeed in bringing Najib down where 1MDB failed to do so.
Is PM Najib going to ignore the warning the way Julius Caesar did and pay the same price?
(The Age, 25 June 2005) – Malaysia’s ruling party suspended a Cabinet minister and his aide on charges of corruption, marking one of the biggest steps in meeting Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s pledge to deal with graft. Federal Territory Minister Isa Samad, a vice-president in Abdullah’s United Malays National Organisation, was suspended for six years from the party on charges that he breached its code of ethics during internal elections in September 2004, including bribing party delegates with money and food to vote for him. (http://pgoh13.com/minister_votebuying.php)