Standing in front of his plush "holiday home" in Bandar Sri Sendayan, Negeri Sembilan, cuff-linked R Thangam, 50, is a Felda success story.
The son of an estate worker from Rembau, Thangam's father was among the small number of non-Malays who joined Felda's ‘land for the poor' scheme, moving his family to Felda Sendayan in 1962.
"I was born into Felda. It was tough. There was no electricity, no water. We had to grow our own rice to eat, and there were so many locusts. They only went away after an imam conducted some prayers," he said in an interview with Malaysiakini.
Unlike many other Felda settlements dotting Malaysia, Felda Sendayan is largely multiracial. Chinese, Malay and Indian houses are interspersed with one another, and the neighbours can be seen chatting at sundry shops...