Report reveals lavish pay for FGV directors

Felda is undergoing a leadership revamp after Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor stepped down as chairman to make way for Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Felda is undergoing a leadership revamp after Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor stepped down as chairman to make way for Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, June 27 — Directors at FGV Holdings Bhd were paid RM5.7 million in 2018, with non-executive chairman Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid taking nearly RM2 million of the sum, according to The Edge today.

In a report detailing the remuneration packages that purportedly caused the firm’s majority shareholders to baulk, the business weekly also said Azhar’s combined fees were effectively twice what other directors received in aggregate.

It further noted that former chief executive Datuk Zakaria Arshad was also paid over RM1.5 million despite being put on garden leave prior to his exit last year.

“Zakaria’s pay was at RM1.668 million in FY17 — the highest among all board members — though his bonus at then was lesser, at RM86,912.50, while his director’s fee was at RM1.25 million. 

“In FY17, the second highest paid among the board members was its former non-executive chairman, Tan Sri Isa Samad, who took home RM1.48 million. Isa is currently facing criminal breach of trust (CBT) and bribery charges involving over RM3 million,” the business weekly reported.

Proposed fees for FGV directors triggered a shareholder revolt, with the three largest stakeholders — Federal Land Development Authority (Felda), Koperasi Permodalan Felda Malaysia Bhd (KPF) and the Armed Forces Fund Board (LTAT) — blocking three resolutions for these.

Felda is undergoing a leadership revamp after Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor stepped down as chairman to make way for Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh.

FGV (formerly Felda Global Ventures Holdings) had been the investment arm of the land authority but was spun off controversially in 2012 when then-prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pushed for it to be listed on Bursa Malaysia.

The move was meant to generate sustainable income for Felda and its settlers but FGV shares are now trading at a fraction of their initial public offering (IPO) value.

While the IPO had raised over RM6 billion, former Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad had made the shocking revelation that RM4.3 billion was unaccounted for back in 2017.

The move also sapped most of Felda’s cash reserves, forcing the current government to announce a multi-billion ringgit bailout of the agency.

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