BN supporters have apparently blocked and attacked an opposition convoy trying to enter a Felda scheme in Negri Sembilan, a state that will be much watched in the coming general election.
The road block was set up on the morning of 23 December along the road that connects the Jelai Felda scheme and Gemencheh, where the Bukit Rokan Utara Felda scheme lies.
The orange-shirted opposition campaigners were forced to abandon their plan to prevent the situation from escalating. One of their four-wheel drives also came under attack, injuring a couple of the campaigners. The campaigners from the Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangsaan (Anak) apparently were also blocked from entering the Bukit Rokan Barat Felda scheme.
The incident raises the question whether BN supporters have the right to block opposition politicians from moving along any roads.
From unverified video footage, it appears that police were present. What action did they take against the perpetrators of the violence?
In March this year, Free Malaysia Today reported about the Bukit Rokan Utara Felda settlers’ unhappiness over the performance of Felda contractors engaged to maintain their smallholdings.
The Bukit Rokan Utara Felda scheme lies within the Gemencheh state seat in Negeri Sembilan. Gemencheh in turn lies within the Tampin parliamentary constituency.
Although Gemencheh and Tampin are both BN strongholds, the BN’s winning majority over Pas in the Tampin parliamentary seat has been whittled down from 18084 in the 2004 general election to 13079 in 2008.
In the 2008 general election, the BN received a fright in Negri Sembilan, winning only 21 state seats in Negri Sembilan against the Pakatan’s 15 (DAP – 10; PKR – 4, Pas – 1). The BN managed to win just five of the eight parliamentary seats up for grabs in the state as the opposition achieved a 14 per cent swing in support in its favour. Recently a large turnout at a Pakatan ceramah in Seremban Jaya raised opposition hopes of an even better showing in the coming general election.
Over in Pahang, the Anak campaigners were similarly blocked from entering the Jengka 23 Felda scheme a day earlier. Again, police appeared to be present.
One of the women can be heard shouting at the Anak campaigners, “Kami dah kaya!” (“We are already rich!”)
The Jengka 23 Felda scheme lies within the Kerdau state seat and the Kuala Krau parliamentary seat in Pahang. Although the BN won the Kerdau by-election in 2011 with a slightly bigger majority, its winning majority in Kuala Krau was slashed from 7351 votes in the 2004 general election to 5265 in the last general election.
Later the campaigners were blocked from entering the Jengka 21 Felda scheme for prayers at the mosque:
Jengka 21 lies within the Jengka state seat (within the Kuala Krau parliamentary seat), where the BN’s winning majority over Pas was cut from 1714 in 2004 to 596 in 2008.
Last year, 711 Felda settlers in Jengka, Pahang, reportedly filed a RM344m suit against Felda for fraud and breach of trust in the High Court in Temerloh. They claimed they were being paid based on a poor palm oil extraction rate from the fresh fruit bunches. This was one of a number of lawsuits brought against Felda following a landmark decision in 2010.
Meanwhile, the lacklustre performance of the Felda Global Ventures shares is not helping the BN cause. The current price of R4.61 is barely higher than the IPO price of RM4.55. That’s a far cry from the closing price of RM5.30 on the day it was first traded in June.
And look at the plunge in crude palm oil prices over the last two years:
No wonder the BN folks at the Felda schemes are feeling jittery.