Friday, September 12, 2008

Angry Old Man

Kedah is the RICE BOWL of MALAYSIA. I learnt that in primary school. My school principal used to tell us that without Kedah we would starve to death. We must always be grateful to that state for giving us our most important meal for the day. At our school assembly, the principal would always say thank you Kedah for the rice produce. I never understood why then. Later when I visited her at the old folk home, she explained that she had visited an ex-student of hers in Kedah and notice the long hours her ex-student and her family have to toil in the field just to produce a bag of rice.

Later in life I had the opportunity to witness first hand the work of padi farmers in Kedah. My in-laws relatives were padi farmers for four generations. Back in 1984 they were earning around RM450 per harvest. Then came along Shahidah, Daim and Mahathir, who created Bernas. The proposal was good and a fantastic life line for the padi farmers to earn more. Initially everything went smoothly but within two years my in-laws relatives were in debts because they could only earn RM60. These padi farmers are UMNO members yet they were cheated by Shahidah. Every time the padi farmers met up with Shahidah or Mahathir, the two would reply they will look into it. Nothing happened. Eventually these padi farmers gave up farming and decided to let the land idle. It was pointless sweating and working hard just for RM60.

There are many outrages stories to be told about Bernas but does the authority or the public actually care? Most important the creators of Bernas were children of padi farmers, did they forget about their past?

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