Felda settlements still BN bastions?
FEDERAL Land Development Authority (Felda) settlements have always been Barisan Nasional’s (BN) major vote bases.
Judging from the saying “whoever has Felda settlers’ votes gets to rule the country”, it can be seen that unless the winds of change blow in these settlements, it is hard for the Opposition to unseat the BN government.
In the 13th general election (GE13), BN won 48 of the 52 parliamentary seats that have Felda settlements, which explained why the national front was able to hold on to power despite the winds of change blowing in urban and suburban areas.
This time around, Felda voters, who number some 1.2 million, can still be the kingmakers, Sin Chew Daily reported yesterday.
But given the recent land scandal involving Felda, rising cost of living and increased burden on settlers following the introduction of the goods and services tax (GST), constituencies with Felda settlements may no longer be taken for granted as safe seats for BN.
Pakatan Harapan, led by its president, former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, taking advantage of the issues surroundings Felda Global Venture Holdings Berhad and the Felda management, is making inroads into Felda settlements and has expressed confidence in winning at least 20 parliamentary seats in Felda settlements in Peninsular Malaysia.
Eight of these seats are located in Johor and the rest are in Pahang (four), Perak (two), Kedah (two), Negri Sembilan (two), Malacca (one) and Terengganu (one).
Mahathir’s influence is not to be underestimated. In the past, opposition parties could not even gain access to Felda settlements, let alone hold ceramah or conduct door-to-door campaigns there during elections.
But because of Mahathir, PH is not only allowed to enter these settlements, its ceramah are drawing crowds.