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Thread: FELDA: Harapkan Pagar, Pagar Makan Padi

   
   
       
  1. #31
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    Harapkan Pagar, Pagar Makan Padi: ANAK says Felda will face RM1.5b annual deficit under listing plans

    ANAK says Felda will face RM1.5b annual deficit under listing plans

    By Shannon Teoh
    January 26, 2012

    KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 26 — The National Felda Settlers’ Children’s Association (ANAK) said today the federal land development programme will be saddled with annual losses of over RM1.5 billion if plans to list Felda Global Ventures (FGV) go ahead.

    The association said the lease agreement between Felda and FGV will see the listed company paying RM251 million in rental for the 880,000-hectare plantation landbank and also 15 per cent of profits from its oil palm plantations, which will amount to RM257 million at the projected price of RM2,900 per tonne of oil palm fruits.

    “With Felda’s expenditure amounting to RM2 billion last year, and wages alone amounting to RM500 million, how will it be able to cover its costs?

    “In the end, the government will have to cover this, meaning taxpayers’ money of at least RM1.5 billion,” ANAK president Mazlan Aliman (picture) told reporters.

    The group has strenuously opposed the plan which will see FGV take over the 51 per cent stake owned by more than 200,000 smallholders in Felda Holdings, which made RM760 million in 2010.

    According to ANAK, settlers, through the Felda Investment Co-operative (KPF), will be given a 35 per cent share of FGV, whose international subsidiaries reportedly lost RM500 million up to 2010.

    Mazlan also said there has been no guarantee from the government over how the shortfall will be covered with Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Ahmad Maslan only promising verbally that Felda will have enough income.

    “Why should Felda rely on the government when it has been able to find its own income? Then what is the point of starting Felda? This is contrary to the objective of making settlers independent,” he said.

    He also said that under the agreement, FGV would gain all decision-making power over Felda but “if the business fails, there is no penalty except that they hand over the land back to Felda.”

    “This means they can wash their hands clean without any punishment,” the PAS central committee member said.

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had recently said the listing of FGV, announced in Budget 2012, is expected to take place in April, instead of the middle of the year as earlier planned.

    But Mazlan said mentris besar in the three Pakatan Rakyat (PR) states — Kedah, Selangor and Kelantan — have indicated to ANAK they will not sign the agreement, which must be agreed to by all state governments.

    The government has said the move will result in a RM5.9 billion lump sum payment to settlers but ANAK has insisted it will not be in cash but shares in FGV.

    FGV subsidiaries such as Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd, Felda Global Technologies, Felda Global Ventures Middle East and Felda Global Ventures Arabia are reported to have chalked up accumulated losses of around RM500 million up to last year.

    The profitable Felda Holdings has a workforce of some 19,000 employees, with a labour force of 46,795 workers at 300 estates, 70 palm oil mills, seven refineries, four kernel-crushing plants, 13 rubber factories, manufacturing plants and several logistic and bulking installations spread throughout Malaysia and several locations overseas.
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  2. #32
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    'Most Felda staff wary over proposed FGVH listing'



    INTERVIEW It may have started as an acrimonious relationship between the 23,000 Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) staff members and the PAS-led NGO Anak, representing the descendents of the settlers.

    However, following the proposed listing exercise of Felda’s subsidiary, Felda Global Venture Holdings Bhd (FGVH) planned in May, Anak president Mazlan Aliman claims the bulk of the staff are in common cause with them to oppose the move.

    “This is because they recognise the listing exercise could be detrimental to Felda where it would face a deficit of between RM1.2 billion to RM1.5 billion, and this matter was raised by their director-general Dzulkifli Abd Wahab, whose protest was rewarded with an order to go on study leave,” Mazlan told Malaysiakini in a recent interview.

    “Anak’s relationship with Felda staff members may have started acrimoniously, as we had brought lawsuits against Felda following the discovery of lower payouts to settlers, made police reports, and lodged complaints to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission and the National Human Rights Commission.

    “This, however, changed when the staff members got to know the prospect of a deficit following the listing, and the risks involved. Now, they are worried over their welfare and hence, are now with us.”

    Mazlan said Felda, before the proposed listing exercise, generated a revenue of RM2.4 billion in 2010, and it needed RM2 billion annually as operating costs to be used for development, infrastructure and the welfare of the more than 112,000 settlers in 317 land schemes nationwide.

    However, he pointed out that following the proposed FGVH listing, Felda would only obtain revenue from two sources - namely the rental of 360,000ha of Felda Plantations Land on 99-year leases amounting to RM257 million annually, and the 15 percent revenue from agricultural operations which fluctuates at around RM200 million.

    “So from RM2.4 billion, Felda would be left with RM508 million and this is only sufficient to pay the wages of the 23,000 staff. This is the deficit which Felda is likely to face and questions remain as to who would have to fork out the remainder,” he asked.

    “Felda settlers and staff members know the burden and the risks. They will face difficult times ahead and this has resulted in uneasiness and inside protest. This is why they (the staff members) are with us now,” he said.

    Former CEO and deputy director removed

    Mazlan said all this started when former Negri Sembilan menteri besar Isa Samad became Felda chairperson on Jan 1, 2011 and proposed the listing exercise of FGVH.

    He said Dzulkifli had raised the issue of where to find the funds following the deficit expected by Felda after the FGVH listing.

    “This has resulted in polemics between Dzulkifli and Isa, where Dzulkifli has been made the sacrificial lamb and asked to go on leave.
    Another deputy director Abidin Abdul Rahman, who is secretary of Koperasi Permodalan Felda Bhd (KPF), which is to be brought into FGVH after the listing, also opposed the move and was transferred back to the Public Services Department.

    "The Felda senior management felt it is a legitimate issue as they are concerned about where to get the funding. This is the concern felt.

    "Our struggle which may seem to have been in opposition or in contra to them, is now seen as bearing the truth.

    "That is why the Felda settlers, their children who have access to information and the Felda staff are with us,” he claimed.

    For Dzulkifli, Mazlan said, he could never have imagined that such a fate would befall him as he is known to be a loyal staff member working in Felda who started from the bottom, as prior to his “leave” he had never issued any statement against the government.

    “He was loyal but he had to be sacrificed because Isa felt he was the stumbling block against the listing. Dzulkifli has been asked to go on study leave, but he is nearing retirement age, what is there to study? This is part of the efforts to remove him,” he said.

    "I got to know that Isa sent a letter to the prime minister for Dzulkifli to go on leave. I do not know Dzulkifli’s status now, but there is no replacement yet for the post of Felda director-general."

    Mazlan also pointed out that with the FGVH listing, KPF would now have a reduced stake in Felda Holdings from 51 percent to 35 percent. KPF, he said, has 220,000 shareholders and it gives out 15 to 16 percent dividend annually.

    "Some 87 percent of the shareholders are the settlers or their children while the remainder are from the Felda staff members.

    "Some of the staff members had invested as much as RM50,000 to RM100,000. A total of 200 staff members had invested a total of RM250,000 in KPF," he revealed.

    The Anak president believes that initially, the KPF stake would only be reduced to 42 percent.

    However, he has received information that the remainder would be liquadated to be paid as dividends to the Felda settlers, which will be announced by the prime minister to abate the protests.

    He added that Felda settlers have their doubts over the success of the listing exercise as in the past such claims of projects benefitting the settlers had failed.

    Failed projects

    Mazlan said previously there had been proposals from Umno, who view the Felda land as strategic areas on the outskirts of towns and industrial areas.

    Hence, he said, they devised plans to develop the area and the state governments had accepted the plans.

    For example, in Felda Cahaya Baru in Masai, Johor which is close to Singapore, he said, the settlers were offered RM1.3 million in 1994 to agree to the change in status of their land from Malay reserve to freehold.

    "Quite a number of settlers accepted the offer. However, a total of 40 settlers who remembered the original purpose of Felda, chose to hold the land as an asset for their children.

    "For the record, the settlers only obtained RM200,000 from the transaction and not RM1.3 million as had been promised 19 years ago," he said.

    Similarly in Felda Sungai Buaya in Hulu Selangor, where they were promised RM1 million, Mazlan said they were cheated into surrendering their land but did not receive the proposed amount.

    The phenomenon also happened in Felda Sendayan and Felda LBJ (named after former US president Lyndon B Johnson who visited the settlement in 1966) near Seremban.

    “After the failed promises, the Felda settlers have wised up and are sceptical about the proposed listing,” he said.

    Part II: 'Felda settlers fight fear to back Pakatan'
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    'Felda settlers fight fear to back Pakatan'

    INTERVIEW The BN may have always considered the 317 settlements under the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) scheme to be its electoral ‘fixed deposit’, but the political landscape may be changing.

    Votes cast by the 112,635 settlers could lead to four more states falling to Pakatan Rakyat in the next election, according to PAS-led NGO Anak which has been championing their interests.

    Anak president Mazlan Aliman said there are Felda settlements in 54 parliamentary seats and 92 state seats.

    “I think this time around there will be some shift, as the mood among settlers may affect states like Pahang, Johor, Negri Sembilan and Terengganu. I don’t want to raise hopes, but there will be a significant shift,” he said.

    Even a 5-15 percent shift in political support had been significant in previous elections, Mazlan noted.

    In 1990, the fallout from the ‘Team A’ and ‘Team B’ split in Umno had an impact on the Felda vote-bank.

    In 1999, following the political ‘persecution’ of Anwar Ibrahim, state seats in Jengka, Chini and Penor were among those that fell into opposition hands.

    In 2004 and 2008, rising commodity prices negated any change in political sentiment.

    In recent years, however, settlers have been left feeling that they have been shortchanged by Felda in terms of payment for the palm oil produced.

    And where Umno is deemed to have failed to fight for Malay settlers’ interests, Pakatan has stepped in with legal assistance that has seen a series of suits being filed with some success against Felda.

    A suit involving Felda Kemahang 3 in Kelantan saw its settlers obtaining RM11 million after the Federal Court directed Felda to pay up.

    Other suits followed - in Felda Maokil, Labis; Ayer Tawar, Perak; Sungai Koyan, Jengka and Bera in Pahang; and Serting and Jempol in Negri Sembilan.

    Mazlan said more than 2,000 people have signed on as plaintiffs to date, and that claims against Felda exceed RM1 billion - a record in the history of the scheme.

    “Umno has alleged that Anak had slandered them and poisoned the minds of the settlers. We are called parasites. But what is surprising is that, in the suits in Felda Maokil and Felda Serting, Umno members surpassed PAS members as plaintiffs.

    “This is an interesting development because the settlers do not see Umno as fighting for their rights.”

    ‘Open support for opposition’

    Mazlan expressed surprise that Felda settlers are showing keen support for parties like PAS and PKR.

    “The idea behind forming Felda in 1956 was to gather Malay support for Umno and BN. Only five percent of the settlers comprise Chinese, Indians and those of other races,” he said.

    “In the past, settlers were afraid to be seen as openly supporting the opposition. Now they are brave and have come out in the open, as they feel betrayed and persecuted. They are seeking legal avenues to ensure justice.”

    Anak itself has survived a period of being shunned by settlers and their families for fear of being blacklisted or boycotted by the rest of the close-knit community.

    “Such is the nature of a settlement where those who do not support BN and Umno not only face pressure from Felda, but also from the community and Umno. That is why the settlers have feared attending opposition ceramah,” said Mazlan.

    Today, though, more people are attending Anak’s ceramah, after seeing how the NGO has taken on Felda and organised opposition to the upcoming listing of Felda Global Venture Holdings Bhd.

    This is in spite of Felda chairperson Isa Samad having “utilised Rela and the auxiliary police” to prevent people from attending Anak’s activities, Mazlan added.
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    Felda settlers in two-pronged attack on FGVH listing

    Salhan K Ahmad
    5:08PM Feb 16, 2012



    Some 120 members of Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) today handed a memorandum to the Federal Land Development Agency's (Felda) board of directors, arguing against the listing of the agency’s investment vehicle on Bursa Malaysia.

    The memorandum is part of a two-pronged move urging the board to stop the proposed listing. The other is the filing of a court injunction to prevent a separate extraordinary general meeting (EGM) to endorse the listing from being held.

    The memorandum, submitted at the Felda headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, also seeks an EGM be held over the proposed listing.


    According to pro-settlers NGO Anak chairperson Mazlan Aliman, this is in accordance with Article 29(1) of the cooperative’s by-law.

    The EGM sought by the settlers will, among others, propose that KPF not be linked to the Felda Global Ventures Holdings' (FGVH) listing in any form.


    The settlers will also move a motion to stop the cooperative from relinquishing all its equities in Felda Holdings Bhd and its 10 subsidiaries.

    This includes relinquishing its equities to any entity formed by Felda Holdings or FGVH in the future.

    The KPF was formed in 1980 with the objective of providing settlers with a share of Felda and its subsidiaries’ equities.
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  5. #35
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    EPISODE 10: How to milk a cash cow

    THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

    Monday, 20 February 2012 Super Admin

    Hey, hold on a minute! Isn’t Omar Mustapha Ong one of Khairy’s boys? And are not Najib’s boys plus Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pissed big time because Najib has given this assignment to someone they perceive as Khairy’s boy -- plus appointed him to the Board of Petronas? And aren’t Najib’s boys plus Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad trying to cut off Omar Mustapha Ong’s head with a rusty sword?

    THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
    Raja Petra Kamarudin

    That was what The Edge reported on Valentine’s Day, 14 February 2012. You can read the other news reports below, mostly controversial in nature.
    Now, what I want you to focus on is this: Ethos & Company. And this is what they say on their website:

    Ethos & Company is a boutique strategy-consulting firm based in Kuala Lumpur. We focus on serving private and public-sector clients on business and organisational transformation - from upfront planning to execution and implementation support. We aim to deliver value through building trusting relationships with our clients, working closely with our clients to solve their most critical issues, and creating lasting impact through insightful recommendations. (http://www.ethos.com.my/)

    And the main man in Ethos is Omar Mustapha Ong, the person who is advising Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on his corporate moves and has been doing so even back in the days when Najib was still just the Deputy Prime Minister.

    Omar Mustapha Ong is a member of Khairy Jamaluddin’s ‘Fourth Floor Boys’, the team that helped Abdullah Ahmad Badawi run the country when he was the Prime Minister. They not only ran the country. They ran it into the ground.

    Do you remember The Khairy Chronicles that Malaysia Today published in the days when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was the Prime Minister? Well, the whole story of ‘The Fourth Floor Boys’ had been revealed in great detail in this series that ran for more than a year.

    Basically, what the news reports below have not revealed is how much are the boys within Najib’s inner circle going to make out of this entire exercise which is going to run into tens of billions of Ringgit? Yes, we are no longer talking about millions. We are not even talking about billions any more. We are talking about tens of billions.

    That is called inflation.

    Felda was the creation of the Second Prime Minister, Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, Najib’s father. It was so successful that the United Nations FAO used to send people from Africa and Latin America to Malaysia to study what Felda did so that they can go back to their own countries and do the same thing. Felda was the example for the world to follow.

    Well, it is so successful that it has become a cash cow with a potential exceeding RM20 billion. So now they want to milk this cash cow till its tits run dry. And those boys surrounding Najib are going to dip their straw into the pail to sip the milk. And because there will be so much milk no one is going to notice the absence of a few drops.
    Isn’t it nice to have cows around, you know, that animal with four legs and a tail and that goes moooooo? Hmm…I wonder what Moohidin’s boys are going to do about this. Surely they are not going to just keep quiet. This is the perfect opportunity to bring Najib down.

    Hey, hold on a minute! Isn’t Omar Mustapha Ong one of Khairy’s boys? And are not Najib’s boys plus Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad pissed big time because Najib has given this assignment to someone they perceive as Khairy’s boy -- plus appointed him to the Board of Petronas? And aren’t Najib’s boys plus Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad trying to cut off Omar Mustapha Ong’s head with a rusty sword?

    If I were a person with a suspicious mind I would say that Omar Mustapha Ong is setting Najib up for a fall with this Felda thing while making big bucks in the process. But then you know me. I have a wild imagination. I see conspiracies even when there are none.

    I am sure this is a legitimate corporate exercise merely meant to help poor land settlers make some retirement money, that is all. And there are no behind-the-scenes goings-on at all. I mean, surely Umno is not going to screw the Felda settlers when the next general election will soon be upon us and Umno needs every vote it can get.

    By the way, do you know who Omar Mustapha Ong’s father is? Yes, that’s right, the same man who tried to fix up Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges. (Read more here: http://www.freeanwar.net/jan2003/Anw...ing_Day2_b.htm ).

    *************************************
    This was what Anwar Ibrahim said in June last year:

    Malaysian citizens have the right to know all information pertaining to Felda Global Ventures Sdn Bhd and its parent body the Lembaga Pertubuhan Felda, including the losses suffered by the subsidiaries and not only the main Group.

    This is vital because we believe that Felda Global Ventures and Lembaga Pertubuhan Felda have borrowed about RM6 billion from the Employees Provident Fund, which of course is money belonging to the Malaysian citizens. Lembaga Pertubuhan Felda had firstly borrowed RM6 billion from EPF, out of which RM3 billion it loaned to Felda Global Ventures.
    Why was the borrowing done by Felda without the Bill being tabled in Parliament, where the voice of the Malaysian citizens are being represented? Who authorised the EPF to loan such a big sum to the Felda Group? We also believe that overseas investments undertaken by the Felda Group using the funds borrowed from EPF have all incurred losses.

    We believe that all the overseas investments undertaken by Felda Global Ventures using the borrowed funds from EPF and investing under the names of Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd, Twin Rivers Technologies US, TRT-ETGO Canada, Felda Global Ventures Middle East and also Felda Global Ventures Arabia have all suffered accummulated losses from the years 1997 to 2010 amounting to the sum of RM500 million and the stupidity of the management of Felda Global Ventures is just as great if not greater than the mismanagement of Sime Darby.

    With Felda Global Ventures suffering such a massive loss in its overseas investments, we believe that the loan from EPF will not be repaid, but the repayment period will be extended and this will be borne by the Malaysian citizens. We believe that the Prime Minister has no knowledge of the terrible losses incurred by Felda Global Ventures in its overseas investments as the losses have been concealed by the massive profits made by Felda Global Ventures in its annual palm oil trading activities.

    In reality, the profits from the palm oil trading by Felda Global Ventures have been used to subsidise the overseas losses suffered by Felda. The Prime Minister has proudly praised Felda Global Ventures for its overseas investments, but it is really shameful, as we believe that in actual fact, nearly all the overseas investments made by Felda Global Ventures have incurred losses.

    We are made to understand that the investment that was made under the name of Twin Rivers Technologies US, a factory processing food and protein fats in the United States of America is the worst investment ever made in the corporate history of Malaysia. The early investment sum totalling RM175 million was forked out to buy over Twin Rivers Technologies US, which was sold by Procter & Gamble.

    We are made to understand that after buying over Twin Rivers Technologies US, the Bank of America has made a demand for the loan amounting to USD100 million owed by Twin Rivers Technologies US. Felda Global Ventures then borrowed RM300 million from CIMB to pay Bank of America.

    It also came to our knowledge that Felda Global Ventures have spent around RM600 million for a processing factory in Canada under a subsidiary of Twin Rivers Technologies US which goes by the name of TRT-ETGO Canada which until to-date has never made any profits.

    Did Felda Global Ventures give any more loans to TRT-ETGO Canada amounting to the sum of RM100 million? Due to this, we believe that the overall investment of Twin Rivers Technologies US inclusive of its subsidiary is around RM1.175 billion. Although the investment is massive, we believe that Twin Rivers Technologies US has incurred losses every year from year 2007 to year 2010 with the amount close to being RM500 million.

    If it is true that the Felda Group has borrowed RM6 billion from the Malaysian citizens via the EPF, we demand that an investigation be made into the activities of the Felda Group similar to what is being done in regards to the investigation on Sime Darby's activities and those in the Felda Group, for instance, its Chief Investment Strategy Officer, Suzana Wati Idayu Othman and its board of directors who are guilty in making these decisions that made Felda Group incurred such massive losses should be held responsible for their negligence in carrying out their duties.
    Under the Felda Act, all the investments of Felda Group, in principle requires the approval of the Minister who is responsible for Felda, which since 1997 has been Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak.

    Whether the investment losses have been revealed to Najib or not revealed to Najib by the management of Felda Global Ventures, the responsibility of the losses must be borne by Felda Global Ventures and Najib. An investigation must be ordered into the matter and the results of the investigation revealed to the Malaysian citizens.

    It is understood that Ethos Consulting, a firm where one of its partners Omar Mustapha Ong is a former special officer attached to Prime Minister Najib has been appointed as a consultant for Felda Global Ventures. We demand to know what is the consultant fee that is paid to Ethos Consulting by Felda Global Ventures and how is it that a consultant firm that has no expertise in the agriculture industry has been appointed as consultant for Felda Global Ventures?
    If it is true that the overseas investments of Felda Global Ventures have incurred losses, then consultant fee payments should not be made to Ethos Consulting as it is obvious that it has failed to give sound advice. The Malaysian citizens demand answers to all the above questions because Felda has borrowed RM6 billion from us.

    *************************************

    FGV listing: Corporate vs. Peasant Settler

    (Sakmongkol AK47, 26 December 2011) - Two upcoming events are waited upon with great anticipation. (1) The outcome of an injunction application by a few settlers to stop the FELDA FGV listing and (2) the 5th January EGM of Koperasi Permodalan FELDA.

    The outcome of the second event is a foregone conclusion. Chairman Isa will get elected as the KPF chairman despite not having the qualifications to become an office bearer. He is not a settler nor is he a FELDA employee. But the Minister in Charge of FELDA has given his approval, what can people do. The Minister is also the PM. He is lord over whoever lives in this land.

    We must not be sidetracked by this sideshow involving the two-bit actor Isa Samad. The more pressing matter concerns the listing exercise.

    Why the injunction? Why should four people extend energy and time and assume the risks of being called traitors and all that want to apply an injunction? Greed can’t be the overriding objective? If it is, it’s more profitable for the four people to side with Chairman Isa who can be generous as he is pleased.

    The object of the injunction is to stop FGV taking over assets and shares belonging to KPF in FELDA Holdings. These people believed that the 350,000 hectares of land which FELDA took was actually meant for settlers. All the assets owned by KPF in FELDA Holdings will be leased to FGV for the next 99 years.
    They will no longer exercise control over the assets as their interests are all converted into shares. FELDA Holdings is 51% owned by settlers and 49% owned by FELDA Global.

    They are willing to risk it all, because they believe settlers are being sold out.

    This listing is the ultimate short-changing of settlers. The first occurred when FELDA withheld more than 300,000 hectares of land from being given to settlers. By assuming ownership of the land, FELDA was able to become a planter itself.

    So we have the peasant settler and the corporate settler. The corporate settlers have moved on to becoming fabulously rich while the peasant settler (Tun Razak’s regimented landless and jobless) have remained relatively behind. They get to enjoy the trickle down effects defined and determined by FELDA who practically run the business on behalf and for the benefit of settlers.

    The corporate settler sells CPO and busies itself in a wide range of downstream manufacturing and marketing activities. They were even able to go into various businesses out of the capital created from ownership of the land, which was supposed to go to the landless and jobless.
    The second took place, when FELDA listed its sugar refining business. It made over RM800 million out of that IPO. How much
    did KPF make by virtue of owning 20% of the business? On paper it made 300 million?

    How did Sabri Ahmad cull this figure? If KPF makes a paper gain of 300 million and the 300 million is 20%, then the whole gain is 1.5 billion. But Sabri says, FELDA made 800 million. Maybe it’s just a figure of speech - the point is, he wanted to say KPF made money albeit on paper. Does that raise the share value of KPF in FELDA Holdings now that it made 300 million paper gain?

    If the injunction is successful, the proposed listing of FELDA Global will be delayed. The listing will see the merger of FELDA Holdings with FELDA Global. The smaller partner in terms of equity, FELDA Global is buying out KPF who has 51%.

    How is the nature of the transaction? Does it involve and offer by FGV to buy out KPF at a certain price or will it involve just a share swap? You priced it with premium fella - that’s why KPF is getting 61%.

    But the share price of the new listed entity is also at a premium. You can easily inflate the price of the would be listed entity, paint glossy pictures, introduce exotic phrase such as unlocking value and so forth- you will probably induce KPF representatives to believe they are getting a good deal. KPF will get 61%. That’s good you say. Isa Samad goes around berating ungrateful settlers - apa lagi awak semua mahu - dari 51% jadi 61%?

    But we ask in return - 61% of how much? If 30% of the shares are sold to the public, the settlers end up with 61% of 70% of the business. That’s not all. 30% is held by the public - the interests of settlers are converted into shares, which are tradable in the market place. As with the track record of bumiputera held equities, you can bet that chances are, the shares will be sold.

    We have to go back to the primary source of dissatisfaction. The peasant settler has remained more or less the same. The corporate settler has made it big. The peasant settlers get palliatives - bonuses here and there. RM1,200 as yearly bonus translates into RM100 per month. 400 per year translate into 30 Ringgit per month - not even enough to buy a T-bone steak at Meatworks.

    The peasant settler gets MRSM colleges, indoor stadiums, futsal stadiums and other social amenities but the value of these, pale in comparison with the amenities and wealth enhancing resources obtained by the corporate settler. The corporate settler has moved on into oleo chemicals, downstream activities, hotels, sugar business, etc., why can’t the peasant settler be organised that same way?

    The fundamental reason why this listing is vehemently opposed is that people believed it’s a sell-out and it’s the culmination of unconscionable acts by FELDA.
    *************************************
    Felda Global Ventures gets new status

    (The Star, 26 January 2012) - Felda Global Ventures Holdings Sdn Bhd has obtained approval from the Companies Commission of Malaysia to change its status from a private limited company to a public limited company.

    Accordingly, it will now be known as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.

    The company is currently pursuing a listing on Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd. The status change, approved on Jan 18, is part of the preliminary process of preparing for its initial public offering (IPO).

    In a statement, Felda Global Ventures group president Datuk Sabri Ahmad said the company’s panel of listing advisers were in the final stages of working out the details.

    “Everything is going according to schedule and we should be ready to make a formal submission for listing to the Securities Commission,” he added.

    Felda Global Ventures has appointed several advisors for its listing by June. The listing was announced by the Prime Minister when tabling Budget 2012 in parliament last October.

    *************************************
    Felda overhaul could harden opposition to FGVH listing

    (The Malaysian Insider, 20 February 2012) - Stiff resistance to the proposed Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) listing will likely grow once plans for a corporate overhaul of Felda are announced, Singapore’s Straits Times reported today.

    The daily, quoting sources familiar with the deal, said “potentially contentious” issues include settlers handing over land to FGVH and surrendering control of the Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) settlers cooperative to government-appointed representatives in exchange for shares.

    “The main points of the deal appear palatable, but the conditions on the settlers to hand over their land through long-term lease agreement and surrender corporate control of their stake to the government will need to be resolved to get this deal to fly,” a senior Felda executive told the ST.

    The as yet unfinalised proposal will also see the financially strong KPF transfer its assets to FGVH based on a valuation that will likely be hotly contested.

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is set to meet senior representatives from Felda and KPF this week to iron out any sticky issues that could derail the IPO.
    The ST said Najib’s handling of the listing will have serious implications for Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno in the coming election, noting that KPF was collectively owned by some 113,000 Malay settlers who represented a key demographic for the lynchpin party.

    “Land is a sensitive matter for settlers, particularly from a family inheritance perspective. So any plan that doesn’t deal with this properly is surely to be exploited (by the opposition),” the chief executive of a financial institution involved in the listing plan told the paper.

    Putrajaya has said it intends to list FGVH in April, instead of the middle of the year as announced earlier during the prime minister’s Budget 2012 speech.

    But critics contend that the proposed listing, which will see loss-making FGVH assume control of KPF, will short-change smallholders and saddle Felda with up to RM1.5 billion in yearly deficit.

    FGVH units such as Felda Iffco Sdn Bhd, Felda Global Technologies, Felda Global Ventures Middle East and Felda Global Ventures Arabia reportedly chalked up accumulated losses of around RM500 million up to last year.

    Opposition to the government’s plan to list FGVH has been led by the National Felda Settlers’ Children’s Association (Anak), which won a temporary court order on Friday blocking the transfer of shares from KPF to FGVH.

    *************************************
    Penyenaraian Felda Global untuk orang kuat Najib?

    (Free Malaysia Today, 21 February 2012) - Bekas pemimpin Kita Kedah, Zamil Ibrahim mendakwa penyenaraian Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) akan memberi keuntungan kepada individu yang rapat dengan Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

    “Saya juga difahamkan cadangan ini dibuat supaya kuasa Koperasi Pemodalan Felda (KPF) ini akan dimiliki oleh individu berkenaan melalui sebuah syarikat milik beliau.

    “Saya minta Felda menyiasat perkara ini kerana jika benar ia akan merugikan 224,000 ahli KPF.

    “Selepas disenarai awam, ahli KPF ditawarkan saham tetapi dipegang oleh syarikat berkenaan”, kata Zamil.

    Bagaimanapun, Pengerusi Felda Tan Sri Isa Samad berkata penyenaraian FGVH akan tetap dilaksanakan.

    KPF mempunyai kepentingan sebanyak 51 peratus ke atas Felda.

    Zamil menambah, pemberian saham adalah taktik yang akan diguna pakai untuk mengunci mulut peneroka berkenaan.

    “Walaupun KPF menjadi pemegang saham terbesar tetapi mereka tidak ada suara. KPF tidak ada apa-apa kuasa selain kepentingan saham deposit,” dakwa beliau lagi.

    Menurut beliau, gambaran bahawa KPF memiliki pegangan saham sebanyak 37 peratus merupakan pembohongan.

    Ketika ditanya kepada Persatuan Anak Peneroka Felda Kebangsaan (Anak), Pengerusinya, Mazlan Aliman mengingatkan mana-mana pihak supaya jangan membuat spekulasi mengenai perkara tersebut.

    “KPF tidak boleh buat apa-apa kerana kita sudah membuat injuksi di mahkamah bagi menghalang perbincangan penyenaraian tersebut.

    “Mereka boleh mengadakan mesyuarat tetapi tidak boleh membincangkan usul. Saya nasihatkan mereka supaya tidak adakan mesyuarat,” katanya.

    KPF akan mengadakan mesyuarat Rabu ini dan Perdana Menteri dijangka merasmikannya.

    “Sejauh mana penyenaraian berlaku dalam keadaan pententangan yang memuncak. Saya tidak fikir ia akan berlaku,” tambah Mazlan.

    Pada 23 Disember empat peneroka Rosdi Ismail, Alias Ibrahim, Abdullah Mohamad dan Rakiah Sulong memfailkan permohonan di mahkamah tinggi Temerloh, Pahang untuk menyekat mesyuarat agung itu.

    Permohonan itu difailkan oleh peguam Mohamad Harris Abdullah
    py

  6. #36
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    It's the same with all the Malay politicians. They think the Malays are too stupid to handle their finances. The solution is to teach them financial literacy, not to keep them in a cage like zoo animals.Teach them! Not cage them mentally!

    Ku Li says FELDA listing will endanger future of settlers

    By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal February 22, 2012

    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — The proposed Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) listing will endanger the future of settlers as they risk losing their land assets, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah has said.

    In an interview with Harakahdaily, the Umno politician said that once the listing took place, land belonging to FELDA settlers will be exposed to the open market.

    The Umno veteran said that once the listing took place, land belonging to FELDA settlers will be exposed to the open market. — file pic

    Once exposed to the open market, he claimed that “anyone” could buy up shares at any amount if they could afford it, and that this will result in settlers losing their land assets if shareholders were to sell their shares.

    “If the price goes up, and if the shareholders want to profit, of course they will sell (to other people) ... it would be stupid not to take advantage of a profit (making) situation.


    “The land that was previously owned will be lost because other people have owned shares and now have rights to the land. That is dangerous,” said the Kelantan prince.

    Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had recently said the listing of FGV, announced in Budget 2012, is expected to take place in April, instead of the middle of the year as was earlier planned.

    But critics contend that the proposed listing, which will see loss-making FGVH assume control of the FELDA Investment Co-operative (KPF), will short-change smallholders and saddle FELDA with up to RM1.5 billion in yearly deficit.


    The government has said the move will result in a RM5.9 billion lump sum payment to settlers but the National FELDA Settlers’ Children’s Association (ANAK) has insisted it will not be in cash but shares in FGV.

    “This is a question of life and death for the settlers. If the land is sold because shares are sold, that means we no longer have rights to the land.

    “I do not know if the government has another plan to guarantee the rights of settlers, but I do not see it,” Tengku Razaleigh told Harakahdaily yesterday.


    Last week, a group of settlers won a temporary court order blocking the transfer of shares from their co-operative to FELDA Global Ventures (FGV), a crucial step in Putrajaya’s plans to list the plantation firm.

    KPF has already cancelled today’s extraordinary general meeting following the temporary court order.

    The Kuantan High Court gave eight settlers an interim injunction barring the handing over of shares in FELDA Holdings to FGV, or any discussion being held on behalf of KPF on the matter.


    FGV subsidiaries such as FELDA Iffco Sdn Bhd, FELDA Global Technologies, FELDA Global Ventures Middle East and FELDA Global Ventures Arabia are reported to have chalked up accumulated losses of around RM500 million up to last year.

    The profitable FELDA Holdings has a workforce of some 19,000 employees, with a labour force of 46,795 workers at 300 estates, 70 palm oil mills, seven refineries, four kernel-crushing plants, 13 rubber factories, manufacturing plants and several logistic and bulking installations spread throughout Malaysia and several locations overseas.
    py

  7. #37
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    Felda: Govt’s move will have negative impact


    Syed Jaymal Zahiid
    February 23, 2012

    PKR also dared Putrajaya to a debate on the issue to clarify the pressing matters to the settlers over the move to list FGVH.



    PETALING JAYA: Putrajaya’s move to grab the majority stake in Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH) will only affect the plantation giant’s value negatively, said PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli today.
    The Najib administration had recently announced that Felda, one of the world’s biggest plantation companies, will acquire 51% of its shares through a special purpose vehicle (SPV).

    This was akin to snubbing the Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) and ignoring the court injunction that temporary blocked the shares transfer from the co-operative to FGVH, a key move to Putrajaya’s aim to list Felda’s commercial arm.

    “If the listing of FGVH is carried out without asset injection from Felda Holdings Berhad due to the court action by the settlers, the listing value will be lower, around RM3 billion, not RM21 billion as mentioned by the government,” Rafizi told a press conference here.

    The court injunction was given following legal action taken by some settlers and forced KPH to cancel yesterday’s planned extraordinary general meeting to allow the share transfer to take place.

    However, Felda’s Umno chairman Isa Samad then announced the SPV which will take a majority stake in FGVH, claiming it will safeguard the interest of some 112,000 settlers.

    Rafizi alleged that the SPV’s formation proved Putrajaya’s disregard for the welfare of settlers.

    He also claimed that the move was targeted at decreasing settlers-controlled KPH’s powerful role in Felda.

    “Felda Holdings Bhd is actually the real cash cow and not FGVH… that is their real interest,” he pointed out, adding that FGVH’s international subsidiaries recorded losses up to RM500 million till last year.

    Debate on Felda

    Rafizi dared Putrajaya to a debate on the issue which he said was the best way to clarify the pressing matters to the settlers who he said are now anxious over the move to list FGVH.

    He urged Isa and deputy minister in charge of Felda Ahmad Maslan to debate with him, National Felda Settlers’ Children’s Association (ANAK) head Mazlan Aliman or PKR Felda bureau chief Suhaimi Said on the subject.
    Earlier this week, Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamarudin charged that the plan to list Felda was to enrich Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s circle, citing the employment of Ethos Consultancy to advice the firm.

    Ethos’s main man is Omar Mustapha Ong, a former special officer to Najib and is known to be the brains behind the premier’s corporate moves.

    PKR leaders demanded Najib to explain Omar’s role in Felda and suggested that the latter may have a hand in the plan to list the plantation firm.

    The profitable Felda Holdings has a workforce of some 19,000 employees, with a labour force of 46,795 workers in 300 estates, 70 palm oil mills, seven refineries, four kernel-crushing plants, 13 rubber factories, manufacturing plants and several logistic and bulking installations spread throughout Malaysia and several locations overseas.

    The government has said the move will result in a RM5.9 billion lump-sum payment to settlers but the ANAK has insisted it will not be in cash but shares in FGVH.

    py

  8. #38
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    So they are going to apply the screws after GE 13 is safely in the bag.
    Looming polls may force FELDA listing onto back burner

    February 23, 2012

    BN may be unwilling to gamble with its vote bank of FELDA settlers so close to the general election. — Reuters pic

    KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — Putrajaya could delay the US$2-billion (RM6 billion) listing of FELDA Global Ventures (FGVH) as settlers’ opposition to the deal risks undermining Barisan Nasional’s (BN) support in fiercely contested national polls expected this year.The listing of FGVH, originally set for mid-2012, aimed to give Malaysia’s US$27-billion palm oil sector much-needed financial firepower to boost yields and expand when top producer Indonesia is gaining market share.

    But the initial public offering has triggered unexpectedly strong resistance from some of the 113,000 farmers who together own 60 per cent of the land given to them by FGVH’s parent, the Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA).
    Although the listing would bring each family a one-time windfall, opponents say it would deprive them of financial control of an asset they have held for generations.

    Pressing on with the IPO without addressing these concerns would be risky for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, who calls the farmers his “safe deposit” in the fight to win elections that must be called by April 2013, but are expected this year.

    Najib is said to be worried about the possible fallout from the listing. — File pic

    Najib is fighting to reverse a dismal election showing by his ruling coalition in 2008, when the opposition made historic inroads in parliament.“The prime minister is concerned about this. He wants the listing to happen but he may take a step back to ensure the settlers are satisfied,” said a senior government official with direct knowledge of the listing plans.

    “The process needs to take time. In the worst case scenario, Najib will push the IPO after the elections,” said the official, who declined to be identified.

    The FELDA settlers number about 1.6 million, including their extended families. They form the bulk of the voters in 54 of Malaysia’s 222 parliamentary seats and are mostly Malay, the core support base of the ruling BN coalition.

    The opposition has backed the farmers over the deal as it seeks to push its way into the traditional rural strongholds of Najib’s Umno.

    Najib’s father, former prime minister Tun Abdul Razak, started FELDA in the 1950s, handing out land to Malays to fight poverty. The farms expanded to 880,000 ha, making for the world’s biggest plantation scheme, with FELDA owning about 40 per cent of the land bank.

    The farmers and FELDA played a crucial role in making Malaysia the world’s second-largest palm oil producer.

    “There is now the potential for widespread dissatisfaction over the listing, with the younger generation of settlers questioning the economic benefits,” said Ibrahim Suffian, director of Merdeka Center, an independent polling group.
    “It is a generational gap.”

    The listing plan envisages FVGH taking over the plantation group’s commercial arm, Felda Holdings, which is 51-per cent owned by farmers through an investment cooperative (KPF).

    On paper, it fits Malaysia’s plan to privatize state assets and draw in investors seeking exposure to palm oil prices that have risen six per cent this month alone.

    Settlers’ opposition to the listing has grown after government media published details of FGVH’s new structure, which signalled KPF would have to sell its share in Felda Holdings for a mix of dividends and equity.

    While KPF would end up as the single largest shareholder with a stake of 37 per cent in the listed FGVH, there would be a dilution of KPF’s assets and a government-formed asset management firm would control its voting rights.

    A settlers’ group won an interim court order this month in Najib’s home state of Pahang to stop the listing. FELDA officials said they would offer to remove KPF as a major shareholder from the proposed listing but would ensure the farmers would still get dividends, domestic media said.

    A cash cow, Felda Holdings has delivered average annual dividends of 14 per cent to farmers over the past 30 years, making it one of the success stories in Malaysia’s decades-old affirmative action policy that favours majority ethnic Malays.

    The firm reported 2010 pre-tax profits of RM760.1 million from processing palm fruits from the farmers and running the land authority’s estates.

    That puts it between Malaysia’s No.3 listed planter, KL Kepong, with its RM1.3 billion profit before tax, and smaller rival Genting Plantations, which earned RM439 million.

    FGVH, which owns the rest of Felda Holdings, needs to buy out the farmers so it can use the IPO proceeds to build mills and replant the estates the firm manages.

    “It is really about streamlining the operations. No farmer is going to lose out. In fact, they could get more dividends,” said a senior executive with FVGH, who declined to be identified as he was not authorised to speak to the media.
    Investors were already wary over the listing because the government is likely to retain significant influence over the new company through shareholdings.

    Isa had been found guilty of vote buying in Umno elections. — File pic

    The worry was spotlighted last year when Najib named a corruption-tainted former minister as chairman of the land authority. The former minister, Tan Sri Isa Samad, had been found guilty of vote buying in internal Umno party elections.“There are many outstanding issues that need to be resolved. Isa Samad is one of them,” said a fund manager based in Kuala Lumpur who buys shares in Malaysian plantation firms. “There is the euphoria of a listing, it looks good for national pride, but it needs more financial cost controls.”

    The listing deal will club profitable Felda Holdings together with some of FGVH’s loss-making overseas ventures, including a partnership with Dubai-based trading house IFFCO that has struggled with poor refinery margins.

    That means the new entity, if it lists, will start from a low base to compete with Indonesian firms that enjoy strong margins, owing to a recent cut in export taxes for finished palm oil products and growing supply.

    “FELDA is aware of the concerns. It appears to be talking to other global trading houses to market their products aggressively,” said James Ratnam, an analyst at TA Investment, referring to plans to forge ties with firms such as Cargill and Bunge.

    “They are making an effort, but from a markets perspective, they need to do more to improve the valuations and that could go a long way to appease the settlers and their children in better dividends.” — Reuters

    py

  9. #39
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    This is the last big one for UMNO before they make a run for it. The FELDA Settlers must remain vigilent. Otherwise, it will be gone!

    Felda Global Ventures listing 'an evil scheme'




    The proposed listing of Felda Global Ventures Holding (FGVH) is a "evil scheme" aimed at reducing the settlers' stake in '"cash cow" Felda Holdings, says the PKR.

    This is because the assets will be transferred to FGVH, which is wholly government- owned, and the settlers "will not have a say in Felda's business and operational activities", especially when other investors are invited to purchase shares in FGVH.

    "We estimate that when this happens, the lucrative Felda Holdings equity held by settlers and Felda staff will be reduced from the present 51 percent to 42.7 percent at the most after the listing, making them minority shareholders," PKR chief of strategy Rafizi Ramli told a press conference at Tropicana in Petaling Jaya today.
    Settlers and Felda staff own 51 percent of Felda Holdings through Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF).

    However, eight of its members have obtained an injuction to stop KPF from moving a motion to relinquish its assets in Felda Holdings to FGVH at an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

    As a result, Felda chairperson Isa Samad said that the FGVH listing would continue without KPF, as a special purpose vehicle will be set up to represent the interests of the settlers and Felda staff.

    No RM20,000 windfall for settlers

    According to Rafizi, with asset injection from Felda Holdings, the listing exercise would yield market capitalisation of about RM3 billion, far smaller than the RM21 billion previously announced.

    “As such, the expected profits for settlers will certainly not be RM20,000 (as promised). It will not happen unless there is some magic trick,“ he said.

    This “magic trick” could include a “back door injection” from Felda Holdings, which is both illegal and would contravene the court injunction obtained by the KPF members.

    “We ask the Securities Commission to be wary and review all the aggregated assets,” Rafizi said, noting that FGVH has a poorer earnings record than Felda Holdings.

    The announcement on the setting up of the 'special purpose vehicle', he added, also showed “disrespect for settlers and Felda staff” and was an indication that the wholly government-owned vehicle would soon take over KPF's role.

    PKR Felda Bureau chief Suhaimi Said said the land authority's intention to sideline settlers was also apparent in its proposed motion, which could not be carried out because of the court injunction.

    'Settlers to bear all the risks'

    Referring to the motion proposed for the cancelled EGM, he said KPF was supposed to relinquish its assets in Felda Holdings and its subsidiaries to an “investment holding company”.

    “This company will represent the settlers in FVGH, while a small amount of ordinary shares will be given to KPF members,” Suhaimi (right) said, referring to a copy of the document, which is marked 'confidential'.

    “This means that if the value of the FGVH shares drop, the settlers will bear all the risks,” he said, adding that this differed from the 15 percent annual dividend received by KPF members.

    Suhaimi said the listing would also involve Felda Plantations, which currently contributes RM2.4 billion through its operations.

    “With the listing, Felda Plantations land will be leased to FGVH for 99 years at a mere RM700 per hectare, when the current value is not less than RM2,000 per hectare,” he said.

    He added that Felda Plantations is estimated to gain only around RM580 million, including dividends, from this – a far cry from the RM2.4 billion in revenue it currently reaps from its operations.

    py

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    Felda settlers explain fear of FGVH listing


    Between his two brothers, his wife and himself, plus the shares inherited from his parents, Felda Sendayan settler R Thangam's family has about a million Koperasi Permodalan Felda (KPF) shares.

    As an extended family which most likely has the largest shareholding in KPF, Thangam's family - one of the few non-Malays to take part in the land-for-the-poor project - is in for big bucks in the proposed listing exercise.

    "We can make millions from the Felda Global Ventures listing exercise. But I don't support it. This is our pension and we don't want to gamble with it on the stock market," he said when met on Wednesday.

    Born into the settlement scheme some 50 years ago, Thangam's plush home in Bandar Sri Sendayan, less than a kilometre away from the Felda settlement in Negeri Sembilan, is a far cry from his humble beginnings as a rubber tapper.

    Having returned to Felda Sendayan at 29, after 11 years in the army, Thangam slowly built his savings through KPF shares and now cannot stomach the risk of rendering them as "useless pieces of paper".

    He said in all, the family collectively gets at least RM15,000 a month as dividends - KPF has paid out an average 14 percent in the last 30 years - and that it is enough for them to stop working.

    "It's true that there could be really big profits to be made in the stock market, but with KPF, we have a guaranteed dividend of 10 percent. Is this going to be guaranteed also if we list?" he asks.

    FGVH is offering to buy KPF's 51 percent stake in Felda Holdings - the parent company - in return for the same stake in FGVH, but analysts believe KPF's stake will drop to about 37 percent with the initial public offering.

    While this is a minority shareholding, it is estimated to value about RM4 billion - RM1 billion more than what KPF's majority shareholding in Felda Holdings is now worth.

    "Sure, it is more but how much will the settlers receive? They keep saying windfall, but how is it going to be distributed?" asked Thangam.

    Booted out of the meeting hall

    The father of six added that only about 60 individuals hold 250,000 KPF shares - the maximum for any individual - with the 2010 annual report showing that about 60,000 people hold less than 500 units.
    "So how will these people be made millionaires as promised by Isa Samad?" he asked.

    Asking these questions in KPF's briefing on the matter last week landed Thangam, who is also PKR Rasah deputy division chief, in hot water with Felda chairperson Isa, who booted the settler out of the hall.

    "It's just not right," said Saparuddin Mohd Yassin, 62, whose holds 250,000 KPF shares and is a former settler from Sendayan. His father joined the scheme in 1970.

    "As shareholders, we want to know what will happen to our shares? Do we exchange them for FGVH shares? Is it a one-to-one exchange? How many shares will be made available to KPF members?" he said, listing out the yet unanswered questions.

    Having retired from a golf course consultancy company, Saparuddin uses his KPF dividends of about RM3,000 a month for day-to-day expenses and he smells something fishy in the lack of information over the deal.

    "If it really benefits us then why are they sneaking around about it. Just tell us the details," said the former Sendayan Umno branch chief, who left the party after being "bitten" by the state government in 1996.

    In 1996, Felda Sendayan settlers chopped down their rubber trees and sold their land to the state government, then led by Isa, only to be given 10 percent of the promised sale price.

    After about a decade of tussling, most of the settlers reluctantly accepted the new "package" offered by new Menteri Besar Mohamad Hassan at a loss.

    Those met by Malaysiakini around Felda Sendayan confess they hold a grudge against Isa (left) for his hand in the Sendayan land deal, and are equally suspicious of what he promises now as the Felda boss.

    To add to this fear, Saparuddin rattles out the names of government-backed companies which have failed at the stock market.

    His fear is not entirely unfounded. A Reuters report says "investors are wary over the listing because the government is likely to retain significant influence over the new company through shareholdings".

    Investors also share Saparuddin's worry over tainted Isa, who was found guilty of vote-buying in Umno elections seven years ago, the newswire reported.

    Sentimental link to land

    For Thangam, it is also the sentimental value of the Felda land. Even though the FGVH listing will not touch settlers' land, it includes some 350,000ha of Felda Plantations' land.
    The son of an estate worker whose decision to enter the Felda scheme changed his family's fate, Thangam remembers well their poor beginnings when they had to fight off locusts to grow rice to eat.

    "Why should this land be released to the open market? It should stay in Felda, in Malaysian hands. I'd rather they open the land to new settlers. Felda is the blood and sweat of the settlers," Thangam said.

    While the doors are still open to KPF, Isa insists that the listing will go ahead, with or without the cooperative on board.

    Analysts believe that this will be bad for KPF shareholders as they will not hold a stake in FGVH-controlled subsidiaries, where all the high-growth businesses and projects are likely to be parked.

    In such a case, the New Straits Times reported that Felda Holdings' revenue will be undermined, making it difficult to give out guaranteed dividends.

    "But the fact is, we are guaranteed 10 percent dividend with KPF. Depending on how well FGVH does on the market, it could be 5 percent and what can we eat with that?" Saparuddin asked.

    And with Isa announcing that a special purpose vehicle will be set up to represent settlers' interests in the listing exercise, it appears that KPF shareholders who are settlers will still get a piece of the listing pie.

    If there is indeed a windfall, Thangam hopes the benefits will be shared with settlers in the form of KPF shares.

    "You can't blame the older settlers for giving the money to their children as it is out of love, but they don't realise that they'll need some for their later years too," Thangam added.

    py

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