Farmers to march against FGVH amid dismal share price
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 27 — Some 30,000 farmers are expected to converge on the city tomorrow against plantations giant Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) in what they claim is a bid to save the federal land authority — seen as among the last pillars of the Malay community — from crumbling.
The share price of FGVH had dipped two sen below its initial public offering (IPO) of RM4.55 in early trade at 10am today, continuing its dismal performance in recent months which has angered a group of first- and second-generation palm oil farmers who hold stock in the company.
FGVH’s share price rebounded later in the day to close at RM4.60 on Bursa Malaysia when trading halted for the day.
Led by the National Association of Felda Settlers’ Children (ANAK), the rally, codenamed “Save Felda” will kick-off after Friday prayers and will see 30,000 demonstrators marching to the Federal Land Authority’s (FELDA) headquarters in Jalan Semarak, according to the movement’s chief Mazlan Aliman.
ANAK and several opposition leaders held a giant rally here in July to protest FGVH’s listing, which they claimed was being done to curry favour with FELDA settlers and their children who are seen as an important vote bank for the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) in the run-up to the 13th general elections.
The group was also reported as saying they will hand a memorandum of their discontent to Tan Sri Isa Samad, who is said to be seeking appointment as chairman of FGVH majority shareholder, Felda Investment Co-operatives (KPF) at its annual general meeting (AGM).
The AGM, which was scheduled for today, has been suspended pending a judicial review at the High Court, the Co-Operatives Commission of Malaysia said in a notice dated December 24 and posted on KPF’s website.
Mazlan who had been staunchly against Isa’s appointment, was previously reported as saying the rally was needed to save FELDA from a “conspirary of the highest order” aimed to reduce KPF’s — and by extension, the farmers’ — stake in the palm oil company.
ANAK and other FGVH critics have also accused FGVH of selling the commodity to an Israeli firm via a Singapore-based subsidiary, a claim the plantations operator has denied.
FGVH shares have continued to languish near record lows after surging above its debut price of RM5.30 when it listed on June 28.
Brokers have said, however, that FGVH is likely benefitting from the interest of large institutional funds that expect the plantation giant to become a component of the benchmark FBM KLCI index, along with restrictions against cornerstone buyers disposing their lots within six months of the listing.
It was reported on December 14 that FGVH would join the FBM KLCI index.