UMNO’s Felda Fixed Deposit: Going, Going, Gone

Many Malaysians following the commentaries over social media – and not the fake news in the official print media – will have received a whatsapp message from an astute lawyer that no one should get excited with the arrest of Isa Samad for questioning. This is only a sandiwara or UMNO theatre meant to fool the rakyat into thinking that some action is being taken against corruption at high levels.

The due process of law will take time and the ultimate decision making – obviously only made after the next election – will be left to the Attorney General to decide whether there is enough evidence to prosecute.

The lawyer who obviously has to remain anonymous to avoid arrest predicted that “no one should be shocked to hear later the AG announcement that the case against Isa be dropped due to ‘insufficient evidence’. He pointed out too that “In Malaysia someone who is in power can even get away with murder. Corruption is only a mild case, you can easily go scot-free.”

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I agree with the lawyer that if BN remains in power after the next election, Isa Samad will not be prosecuted for the way in which he has abused the FGV and public treasury to enrich himself and his cronies.

His enormous wealth and multiple assets clearly cannot come solely from his salary. They have come from the transactions that he signed off on as the Felda chairman and FGV chairman which have resulted in the  billions of ringgit of losses to shareholders and other stakeholders. In the meantime, the MACC should disclose to the public how many houses and landed properties Isa and his family members own but I guess we will need a whistle blower to do this because as we have seen from other examples, the MACC is a toothless tiger.

Isa Samad may be untouchable and may have political immunity. He may be beyond the reach of Malaysian law so long as we have an AG who is answerable to his boss,  the Prime Minister, rather than to the nation.

But this can change if Pakatan comes to power.

Some months ago many analysts felt that the prospect of Pakatan winning the election did not look bright.

But today, the situation has changed dramatically.

Barisan and UMNO are running scared. And the main reason is that – apart from 1MDB and the massive donation into Najib’s account – there is every indication tha the revolt among Malay voters has started.

And this revolt against UMNO has its main driving force in the over 120,000 Felda settlers and their families.

Over One Million Anti-BN Felda-Related Voters

At least one million of these Malay Felda-associated voters – if we assume that every original settler has a family of 6-8 members – could be voting in the coming election. They form the majority in over 60 rural constituencies.

In fact, Felda settler family members are to be found in every constituency in the country – even in Sabah and Sarawak. The great majority – over 90% – of this population are fully aware of the corruption, abuses of power and breaches of trust involving Isa in the purchase of the London and Kuching hotels, and also in the way in which Felda settlers have become victims of Najib’s refusal to do anything about it.

It is not only Najib that made Isa “untouchable”. It is also UMNO leadership at the top and grassroots level that were blind to Isa’s insatiable appetite for wealth and power which was clearly demonstrated when he was found guilty of money politics in contesting for UMNO’s vice presidency in 2005.

Many Felda settlers will feel and know that it is the entire UMNO power structure that must bear responsibility for the disgraceful situation of Felda and FGV. And there is every possibility that these voters will cast their votes for the opposition in the coming election. And even if they do not cast their votes for the opposition, we can expect them to boycott the election.

UMNOs leaders and spin masters in the employment of UMNO may trumpet that the remand of Isa Samad proves that the party is prepared to tackle corruption at the highest level.

But come on, the Malay rural voters were not born yesterday.

I expect them not to be fooled by the media spin. I expect them not to tempted by the handouts and special dividends and other forms of political bribery that UMNO excels in. I expect them to vote for the opposition in GE 14.

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