The precursor of elections is always money throwing by the politicians who will use any excuse to do it. `It is for the good of the people’-the usual excuse. They never say the equally obvious: it is also for the good of the politicians! The lack of an effective election administrator allow such situation to develop from a hole in the dyke wall to a torrent that breach all barriers! Public money is splashed to service party/private interests! But it serves an unintended purpose: it is a sure sign of impending elections!
Najib announces ‘duit raya’ as battle for Felda votes intensify
KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 2 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today a special RM42.6 million “duit raya” allocation for Felda settlers, in an indication of the expected battle between his Barisan Nasional (BN ) and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR) for crucial votes from land settlement schemes in the next general election.
In a statement today, the prime minister said that all 112,635 settlers would receive a share of the allocation in recognition of their contribution to Felda’s development and to help them prepare for Hari Raya celebrations.
He said 100,357 or 89.1 per cent of the settlers with Felda would each receive RM400, involving as allocation of RM40.14 mil, while 12,278 or 10.9 per cent not with Felda would get RM200 each or RM2.46mil in total.
The Umno president also pointed out that “duit raya” had been implemented since 2003.
Najib (picture) said however that the payment for this year had increased by RM5.41mil or 14.54 per cent from RM37.20mil in 2010.
“I hope the raya money will help lessen their financial burden in preparing for the arrival of the month of Syawal,” he said.
As polls loom, PAS is gearing itself up to run neck-and-neck with Umno in the crucial race for Malay votes in Felda plantations, which is traditionally seen as a BN vote bank.
This was reflected when Mazlan Aliman, popularly known for his work as chairman of the National Association for Children of Felda Settlers (Anak), made it into the Islamist party’s central working committee (CWC) with the highest number of votes at the party polls in June.
According to reports, there are more than 250 Felda land schemes nationwide, mostly in Pahang and Johor, with at least 112,000 settlers. Descendants of these settlers total an estimated 600,000.
The opposition has accused the government of misappropriating Felda funds. A number of Felda settlers have also taken the federal agency to court for alleged cheating.
In June, a total of 771 settlers filed suit in the Temerloh High Court against Felda and Felda Palm Industries Sdn Bhd for fraud and breach of trust.
The settlers claimed they had incurred losses amounting to RM344 million over a 15 year period because they were paid a lower rate based on the palm oil extraction grade used.
In January 2010, the Federal Court had ordered Felda to pay RM11 million to settlers in Kelantan over the same issue.