Felda chairman: Where did RM4.3b from listing go?

The Felda logo is seen at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, December 28, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
The Felda logo is seen at its headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, December 28, 2016. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — RM4.3 billion of the RM6 billion Felda earned from the listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH) is unaccounted for, said Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad.

In a report by Malay daily Sinar Harian, the Felda chairman said his agency received the amount as dividends from FGVH’s initial public offering (IPO) in 2012, but the missing billions has caused frustrations among Felda settlers.

“Felda received RM6 billion from the listing of FGVH which is Felda’s business asset. From that amount, we have spent RM1.7 billion as windfall,” Shahrir was quoted saying yesterday.

Shahrir said Felda awarded settlers and their families RM15,000 for each household, leaving behind a balance of RM4.3 billion.

“So where did this RM4.3 billion go? I think this has frustrated settlers who are very close to Felda who admire the role of Felda I think they have been disappointed,” Shahrir said.

In 2012, FGVH raised US$3.1 billion (RM10 billion) in Asia’s biggest IPO that year, with its stock selling for RM4.55 each.

Felda owns 21.25 per cent of FGVH.

Shahrir’s remark came as the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) detained five people, three serving and two former staff of the Federal Land Development Authority last month, on suspicion of corruption relating to a sturgeon farming project worth RM146.25 million.

According to an MACC source, one of the officers carried the “Datuk” title, one was former a deputy director-general, one was overseas-based, and the others an officer involved in the sturgeon project and administrative assistant.

The Auditor-General’s Report Series 2 in 2015 that was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat on November 21, 2016 had revealed that until June 30, 2016 Felda had yet to obtain returns, assets or technology transfer concerning the project.

Shahrir said that Felda has spent around RM200 million on various programmes, as reported by the Auditor-General.

“To get them back, we will try. But impossible for us to get RM200 million back because it has been spent. Many things have reportedly been done without approval, protocol or appropriate situation.

“That is why my task is to repair Felda’s financial status. It’s not like we don’t have any money but yes... maybe have been misspent,” he said.

Shahrir, the MP for Johor Baru, was named the new Felda chairman on January 6 replacing Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad whose term has ended, but remains Chairman of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd.

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