Felda Settlers Reminisce Good Times With Bn At Protest Outside Parliament




PARLIAMENT | Father of four Kamarul Azman Kamaruldin was among the more than 150 Felda settlers and smallholders from several states who held a protest outside the Parliament building in Kuala Lumpur this morning
He complained that it is difficult to make ends meet due to the instability of palm oil prices unlike in the past
“Those who live in the kampung are feeling the hardship since the new government took over. I hope after this, the price of palm oil will be stable. Back then, we hit RM500, RM600, RM700 per tonne ..
“This was during the time of the previous government, 2013 and onwards, our income was stable. I have four schoolgoing children, so life is difficult,” he told reporters
Kamarul, 48, claimed that he has not been able to earn even RM800 a month
“The previous government fixed our income at RM1,500. If our income fell below this mark, the government would top it up. But now, our income cannot even reach RM800,” he rued
Abdul Rahman Sharip (below), 64, said the protest is to demand the government to fix a minimum price for rubber and to increase the price of palm oil
“Previously, the price of palm oil could reach RM800 per tonne but now... What is the government doing? Is Pakatan Harapan doing any work
“This is a peaceful gathering, we are not here to pick a fight. We are concerned and worried about the future generation. We have commitments as well. I have four children who are still studying and I cannot bear the cost,” he added
The protest was organised by the Jawatankuasa Pembela Kebajikan Peneroka dan Pekebun Kecil Pemuda Umno Malaysia (Pembela), Pertubuhan Kebajikan Warga Felda Malaysia (PKWFM) and Pertubuhan Generasi Warisan Kebangsaan (Generasi)
A memorandum highlighting the smallholders and settlers' plight was submitted to opposition leader Mohd Ismail Sabri, who is also Umno vice-president
'Drinking palm oil won't help'Speaking to reporters later, Ismail said the government's efforts are not resolving the European Union's boycott of palm oil
He also noted how India, which is the biggest importer of Malaysian palm oil, is looking for alternative sources after Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's remarks about Kashmir and Jammu irked New Delhi
“We have heard from the (Primary Industries Minister) minister (Teresa Kok) that oil palm be replaced with bamboo and to drink a spoon of oil palm daily (for health)
“We are certain that these measures would not resolve the problem
“So we demand that the government announce short-term, mid-term and long-term plans to resolve this issue,” he added
Among others, the memorandum urged the government to set aside a special allocation to assist smallholders and Felda settlers should the price of palm oil continue to decline
It also urged the government to repair diplomatic ties with countries importing palm oil from Malaysia
During the United Nations general assembly in September, Mahathir said “despite UN resolution on Jammu and Kashmir, the country has been invaded and occupied.”“There may be reasons for this action but it is still wrong. The problem must be solved by peaceful means. India should work with Pakistan to resolve this problem. Ignoring the UN would lead to other forms of disregard for the UN and the rule of law,” he added
Teresa: Strange to protest when price is risingMeanwhile, Teresa, whom the protesters claimed should resign, said she cannot comprehend the reason for the protest since the price of palm oil is rising
"The price of palm oil was above RM1,700 per metric last December and had gone up to RM2,485 per metric as of Oct 31 this year. That is a rise of about of RM700 and that is why I cannot understand why they are protesting," she told reporters
Teresa believes that the opposition MPs brought the protesters because she would be winding up the debate on the Budget 2020
“I find it strange that they would protest when the price is increasing. I think the MPs who brought them to protest are not wise,” she said
However, the protesters disputed the minister's figures, claiming that the price of palm oil is around RM300 per tonne
Yesterday, Pakatan Harapan's candidate Karmainie Sardini for the Tanjung Pia parliamentary seat by-election in Johor told those cultivating palm oil to be grateful for the RM270 per tonne price
“We should be grateful for RM270. Actually, RM270 is a lot
"If they have 10 acres, they can get five tonnes of fruits at least ... Times that with RM270 and that is over RM1,000
"If you live in a village, what do you really have to pay for? If you want to eat vegetables, you can grow it yourselves. You only need to pay for fuel
"You have to be grateful for this, even if it is just a bit, we can still eat," he said. - Mkini

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