Isa’s membership in Felda illegal: Why then is he Felda chairman?

This whole episode is related to Umno’s survival in the next general election, observes P Ramakrishnan. They have to take control of KPF by whatever means it takes to exert their authority over the Felda settlers.

The Malaysian Cooperative Societies Commission (MCCC) has become the laughing stock of the nation by coming up with a ridiculous decision that defies logic and makes nonsense of common sense.

It absurdly ruled that even though the approval of Isa Samad’s application as a member of Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) had gone against the by-law of KPF, Isa’s membership nevertheless remained intact (Malaysiakini, 31 May 2012). The MCCC made this outrageous conclusion on 23 May in response to an application by 16 Felda settlers challenging Isa’s illegal membership in KFP.

This controversial decision shocked and dismayed Malaysians who are simply flabbergasted that the three- man MCCC panel sitting in judgment could arrive at this ridiculous decision.

Though they conceded that Samad’s membership approval went against the by-laws of KPF, they feinted helplessness to right this wrong claiming that there was no provision to cancel his membership.

This is nonsensical logic! According to the Cooperative rules and regulations, Section 43 only confers membership to Felda settlers, their families and Felda permanent employees. Under this section, Isa did not qualify to become a member of KPF. He was never a settler or a family member of a settler or a permanent employee in Felda. By no stretch of the imagination could he qualify as a member.

You don’t need a special provision under the by-law to disqualify his membership or remove him as Chairman of KPF.

The Board of Directors did not have the authority to approve his membership. Under the circumstance, Isa’s illegal membership simply lapses. End of story!

Alternately, the Board of Directors could convene a Board Meeting and rescind their earlier illegal decision to put matters right. That would have nullified Isa’s membership for good.

But why was this not done?

This whole episode is related to Umno’s survival in the next general election. They have to take control of KPF by whatever means it takes to exert their authority over the Felda settlers.

This was why the Prime Minister, who is the Umno President, announced on 8 May 2012 a windfall of RM15,000 to each household to win support for the listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH). This was nothing but outright bribery.

But why choose Isa to ride roughshod over the objections of settlers?

Is it because he has a history of winning over support through corrupt means? Don’t we remember that he was found guilty in June 2005 on seven corrupt charges of money politics and vote-buying in the 2004 Umno elections? The charges were very serious: he was accused of having:

1) Allowed his political secretary Mohd Salim Sharif to pay RM300 to each delegate from the Telok Kemang division to the Umno General Assembly on or about September 2004;

2) Allowed his agents to pay various amounts of money to delegates from the Cameron Highlands, Kuala Lipis and Bentong divisons to the Umno General Assembly on 11 September 11.

3) Allowed his agents to pay RM1,000 each to delegates to the Umno General Assembly at the Crown Princess Hotel at 11.00pm on 22 September and the morning of 23 September.

4) Permitted his agents to pay RM1,000 each to delegates to the Umno General Assembly at or about 1.00am on 23 September at the Pan Pacific Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

5) Allowed his agents to pay various sums of money to Sabah delegates to the Umno General Assembly at about 1.00am on 23 September at the Legend Hotel, Kuala Lumpur.

6) Allowed his agents to pay RM300 to Sabah Umno delegates at the Tanjung Aru Golf Club and the ‘Kandarah” Court, both of which are in Sabah in early September.

7) Allowed his agents to pay RM300 to Kedah Umno delegates at Holiday Villa Hotel, Alor Star and Kelab Cinta Sayang, Sungai Petani around two to three weeks before the 2004 Umno General Assembly.

He was suspended for six years and compelled to give up all his positions in Umno including that of Vice-President of Umno.
But some think that Isa occupies a favoured position in the hierarchy and it seems a valid point.

His suspension was later reduced to three years, subsequently paving the way for him to contest the Bagan Pinang by-election in September 2009.

But, corruption, it seems, has never been a serious issue with Umno.

Even Tun Dr Mahathir was apprehensive and had reservations about Isa’s candidacy. “Don’t nominate Isa Samad as candidate,” he pleaded.

“Tan Sri Isa has already been found guilty. If Umno fields him, it means that Umno is not serious about such cases. Even if he can win there, (we) have to consider what the whole of Malaysia thinks of Umno,” Mahathir said.

But Umno wasn’t bothered about what Malaysia think of Umno. The reality is what Umno thinks is the reality and what matters in Malaysia.

To drive home this fact, Isa was appointed as the Chairman of the Felda Land Development Authority (Felda) effective from 1 January 2011.

And with his illegal membership of KPF, the BN government has achieved its ultimate goal in the listing of Felda Global Ventures Holding (FGVH).

Why hasn’t the Prime Minister commented on this scandalous episode of Isa’s membership of KPF? Why hasn’t the Attorney General said anything about this illegal conduct of the Board of KPF and the
ludicrous decision of the MCCC?

Isn’t it strange that Tun Dr Mahathir, who was so concerned with the image of Umno, has nothing to say on this issue?

Let us be reminded of this wise saying, “Your religion is what you do when the sermon is over.”

P Ramakrishnan is an executive committee member of Aliran

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