Azmin denies being ‘booed’ by Felda settlers

Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali at the lobby of parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 8, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali at the lobby of parliament in Kuala Lumpur July 8, 2019. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali today denied that he was greeted by Felda settlers with loud jeers at an event held in Muadzam Shah in Rompin, Pahang, yesterday.

The economic affairs minister said though there was some commotion happening at a distance from the canopy hall, Azmin said it was an unrelated incident.

“I was there. I spoke, gave quite a lengthy speech. There was some distraction at the back, but it was not levelled against me. I think there was some commotion at the back, but we don’t know about it,” Azmin told the press when met in the parliament lobby in here.

When asked on claims that the “boos” were directed at him, as the event was held in an Umno-held state, Azmin had dismissed the claims and said Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Wan Rosdy Wan Ismail and the state executive councillors were present as well.

The Gombak MP said he had received a letter from the state head prior to his visit to discuss the main infrastructure projects in Pahang.

“We have a very good working relationship with the state Currently we agreed to consider three mega projects in Pahang, which was approved by the prime minister yesterday,” he said.

Azmin said he believed the support from Felda settlers was well received as many had travelled far to welcome prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s new initiative presented in the Felda white papers.

“It reflects the support of the Felda settlers to this new model. That is why the prime minister has used the space to explain and convince on what is meant by the new Felda model,” he said.

Several videos had made its rounds on social media showing Azmin’s speech drowned by “boos” from the audience attending the national-level Felda Settlers’ Day 2019 celebration at Felda Selancar 3 in Rompin.

The crowd booed Azmin when he was making reference to the Pakatan Harapan government’s efforts to restore Felda amid several scandals of alleged mismanagement and misappropriation of funds.

Meanwhile, Azmin said the government has to step up on its efforts to convince Felda settlers on Putrajaya’s plans to merge Felda settlers’ lands to become big estates.

“We want to convince them that this is the way forward,” Azmin said.

Dr Mahathir, had yesterday said the Federal government plans to amalgamate Felda settlers’ land to become big estates that can generate income through a more efficient and professional management.

He said the method of management has been practiced by large estates owned by foreigners since the British colonial administration.

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