Azmin: Umno-Perkasa behind Felda protest
Fri, 02 Jul 2010
By Syed Jaymal Zahiid (Free Malaysia Today)
SHAH ALAM: PKR vice-president Azmin Ali claimed today Umno and Perkasa may be the instigators behind the protest by Felda settlers at the party’s office in PJ two days ago.
The influential PKR leader said that it was absurd for Felda settlers, who he claimed are marginalised and exploited by the BN federal government, to hold such protest.
“I don’t believe Felda settlers would hold such demonstration as they know for a fact that they have been marginalised for years by Umno and BN,” said Azmin.
“It dosen’t make sense for that Felda (settlers) to partake in the demonstration. I strongly suspect that Umno Youth or Perkasa are behind this,” he added.
About 200 Felda settlers demonstrated in front of the PKR headquarters following an article published in its organ Suara Keadilan that the world’s largest plantation operator is bankrupt.
The protest was a follow-up to an open letter on the Internet written by former deputy minister of land and cooperatives Tan Kee Kwong.
Tan, now a PKR member, alleged that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was responsible for Felda’s massive loss of cash reserves.￼
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister Department Ahmad Maslan, however, denied the accusation.
Maslan maintained that while Felda’s cash reserve had decreased to RM1.35 billion in 2009 from RM4.08 billion in 2004, its net asset value was growing.
The spat between Pakatan Rakyat and BN on the issue led to the suspension of Suara Keadilan’s publishing permit today and Felda has slapped PKR with a RM200 million suit.
But Azmin claimed that what the party had done was merely acknowledging contributions made by Felda settlers to the country’s economy while fighting for their plight.
“It’s harassment from Umno.We will defend our case in court,” said Azmin, who added that the suspension of the permit was an infringement on democracy.