One of the reasons I was brought into Felda was because I was not a politician. But when I retired in 2001, that requirement had changed. They wanted a politician. They said that although I was a first class administrator, I was not a politician. In the early days, they did not want politics to be involved, but because of the strength of the settler votes, politics overrode.
We kept away from people who were critical. One of the ministers was critical that Felda was not efficient. I told him in the estates you can fire your workers if they don’t perform. But how do you do this with settlers? The settlers had their personal habits, and were easily satisfied .
I told the these government politicians, “You created us like a penguin, but you want us to fly like a pigeon.”
Sometimes, even the opposition politicians were more supportive than government politicians. One of the DAP politicians had even volunteered to help out at scheme levels, but the UMNO people were very critical. The politicians kept on mentioning social problems in the schemes. I reiterated that these issues were in existence from their original environment in the kampungs.
There was another situation, where a group of settlers were working far away and could not get to the mosque, and they prayed zuhur in the plantation. So these politicians wanted these people to be evicted, because according to them, the settlers were practising a different cult. I had to defend them.
One politician insisted I transfer a scheme manager because he refused to put up campaign posters. It was not his job to put up posters and I defended his right to refuse. People should not be victimised for a wrong they didn’t do.