Call for Royal Commission of Inquiry to Save FELDA, to listen to grievances of Felda settlers particularly on Felda’s EHP acquisition and Felda Global Ventures (FGV) and to make recommendations

DAP calls for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into FELDA, to listen to grievances of FELDA settlers particularly on FELDA’s Eagle High Plantations (EHP) acquisition, Felda Global Ventures (FGV) and to make recommendations to Save Felda and to ensure that FELDA does not become as great a national embarrassment and shame as the international 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.

I am sure former Law Minister, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who is with us today, is fit and qualified to be a member of this Royal Commission to Save FELDA, and I am also prepared to serve on the RCI to Save Felda.

A fit and proper Chairman of the Royal Commission of Inquiry to Save FELDA would be Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, the CIMB Chairperson, the son of Tun Razak who set up FELDA and the brother of the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

PKR MP for Pandan, Rafizi Rami would be most suitable to be engaged to head an investigation team by the RCI to Save FELDA.

There have been a battery of complaints and grievances against FELDA, the latest being FELDA’s decision to acquire a 37 per cent stake in Indonesia’s PT Eagle High Plantations (EHP) – at US$505.4 million (RM2.26 billion) purchase at almost three times above the market value – without any control over access to EHP’s 425,000 hectares of land.

Decisions surrounding access to Eagle High’s land and other issues would still be determined by Indonesian billionaire Peter Sondakh, who would remain in control of EHP, despite having a reduced stake of 31.6 percent via his Rajawali Group.

There were also complaints and grievances about FELDA’s housing projects with signs of mismanagement and misappropriation, as Felda’s financial statement ending year 2014 revealed that RM193 million that was supposedly being pumped into that project had been “written-off”.

Another issue which Rafizi had brought up was Felda’s replanting scheme, which had the highest spending at RM25 billion a year and exposed the scheme to various risks of abuse and corruption.

Rafizi has said that over the past few years, whistleblowers from Felda had consistently approached him with concerns over corruption and mismanagement of the replanting scheme.

There is also the long-standing and deep-seated grievances about Felda Global Ventures (FGV), greatly aggravated with EPF’s disposal of all its FGV shares over the year until it has no longer any stake in the company.

The poor performance of FGV in the stock market is most shocking, falling to RM1.55 per share at the end of the year, compared to its IPO price of RM4.45 in 2012.

In 2012, Putrajaya had promised the listing of the country’s largest oil palm plantation would herald a new era and urged settlers to acquire FGV shares through loans.

With EPF having offloaded its substantial share in FGV, had the FELDA settlers been taken for a ride and wrongly advised to take loans to buy the FGV shares?

In September this year, former Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said that if there is a four per cent swing against UMNO/BN in the 14th General Election, the UMNO/BN coalition would lose 45 seats, the majority of which are UMNO seats.

This would mean the UMNO/BN coalition getting even less seats than what the Pakatan Rakyat won in the 13th General Election.
With the loss of 45 seats, the UMNO/BN coalition would be reduced to 88 parliamentary seats and would occupy the Opposition benches in Parliament.

Muhyiddin should know what he is talking about as he was the Election Director of UMNO/BN coalition until he was summarily sacked as Deputy Prime Minister because of his disagreement with the Prime Minister over the international multi-billion dollar 1MDB kleptocratic money-laundering scandal.

We do not want to have a phoney or fake opposition to win some 25 parliamentary seats in the 14GE and to play the role of “king-maker” who could throw their lot and support to the UMNO/BN coalition to ensure that Najib Razai can continue as Prime Minister, although Najib won an even lower percentage of voter support than in the 13GE in 2013!

Is it possible to ensure a four per cent swing of voters against the UMNO/BN coalition in the 14th General Election?

The four per cent swing of voters against the UMNO/BN coalition in the 14GE is not an impossible goal, especially as there is an unprecedented degree of restiveness and opposition to Najib and the UMNO/BN coalition, even among the Malay-dominated civil service whether at national or state government level!

Patriotic Malaysians, regardless of race or religion, cannot accept recent adverse developments where the country is regarded worldwide as a “global kleptocracy”.

What is a “kleptocracy”? I explained in the recent budget meeting of Parliament that “kleptocracy” is a government of 3Ps – Pencuri, Perompak and Penyamun.

Malaysians are entitled to ask: In the world-wide anti-corruption campaign, “tigers” in China and “crocodiles” in Indonesia” are being caught and jailed. Why is it in Malaysia, only the “ikan bilis” are being nabbed while the “ikan yus” get away scot-free?

This is why in the 14GE, let us work for what is regarded as the “impossible” by analysts to happen – to remove the UMNO/BN federal government in Putrajaya so that all Malaysians, whether Malays, Chinese, Indians, Kadazans or Ibans have a new chance to make Malaysia great again instead of heading towards a failed and a rogue state.

[Speech (2) at the dialogue organised by DAP MP for Raub, Dato’ Mohd Ariff Sabri b. Hj. Abdul Aziz in Kampung Gali Tengah, Raub on Sunday, 1st January 2017 at 5 pm]

  1. #1 by Bigjoe on Monday, 2 January 2017 - 12:49 pm

    Most settlers and even those not expert in corporate finance do not understand what is so bad about EHP deal. So what is wrong with debt financing of a major stake of EHP even if it’s at a premium?

    At the core of what is wrong is that Felda cannot generate enough free cash flow to fund the acquisition. In fact Felda already fund it’s replanting obligations with debt. In other words, it’s like someone who already borrow money to pay his living expenses, he goes borrow even more to fund a new business, in fact it’s risky investing, in fact gambling. Even if the business does not fail, the debt load is unserviceable and bail out is just and eventuality.

    It’s actually the same way 1MDB got into trouble before it was bailed out with cheap land of TRX and Bandar Malaysia.

    Its corporate finance lunacy. Opposition should actually encourage them to go ahead and repeat their mistake.

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