Being in FLDA (as it was then known), whose mission was rural development, I found myself in a high profile and highly-pressurised job. The mission was very important on the priority list for nation building, and I enjoyed the effort and hard work that the team was putting into this worthwhile endeavor.
In the beginning, I was only on secondment from the MCS. I would admit, that as an MCS officer, the only measure of my performance was the promotions. By November 1967 I had been promoted to Level IV, but there was already some resentment from others in the MCS. In that promotion, I had bypassed 22 more senior officers and probably upset many of them by the promotion. My two-year secondment period was coming to an end. In December 1967, I received a letter from the PSD stating that I would no longer be given any promotions unless I returned from secondment. The alternative was to obtain a permanent transfer to FLDA. At that time, there was no permanent post in FLDA available, and that meant that I would have lost all my benefits thus far.
I was thinking about life in the MCS, what would I do? I could have gone quite far, but that was not me. I assessed myself, probably I would always make a bad No 2, but I make a good No 1. In FLDA, I was allowed to operate independently. So, I decided to stay in FLDA.
Over the next few years, the MCS (later PSD) refused to promote me as long as I remained in FLDA. They ignored several letters written by both Tan Sri Taib and Tun Razak explaining why they needed me in FLDA and the scope of my responsibilities and asked the PSD to help by creating a special post for me in view of my work in FLDA.
Despite the promotion limbo I was in, Tan Sri Taib appointed me as General Manager of FLDA (when the term “Deputy Chairman” was abolished, and the ordinance wording “General Manager” was reinstated) in October 1969 and on 1st May 1970, the designation was changed to Director General of FLDA.
Tun Razak had recommended me for a double promotion, but a few people, including a person I had thought to be a close friend (and who shall remain unnamed) had written a letter to PSD objecting. I was shown the letter personally by the head of PSD at the time, and I was shocked. It was only on 22nd July 1970, four years after I was seconded to FLDA, that the PSD confirmed my promotion to Level IV, and six months later Tan Sri Taib recommended me to be promoted to Level II. So in April 1971, they finally gave me Level II Superscale 3 effective February 1971.
Other people were still grumbling about my promotions within the MCS despite not actually being in the Service, so on 1st January 1973, I was recalled to Government service as Secretary General of the Ministry of Land Development.
I asked Tun why I was recalled to the MCS, and Tun told me, “I told Kadir (the Ketua Setiausaha Negara then) please look after Raja Alias. He promoted you and took you out”.
I replied to Tun that there’s nobody taking care of Felda. So he sent me back and three days later I went back to Felda as Director General again. There seemed to have been some “stickiness” between Felda and me. I think I had found my life’s calling and could not turn my back on it. Finally, I was advised to retire “in the national interest” from the MCS. This I did on 1st February 1976. My service level when I retired in the national interest was Grade A2-A1 with a pension of RM3,500.00 per month.