Side Views

Durian runtuh or durian mengkal? — Sakmongkol AK47

MAY 10 — FELDA settlers were described as “shedding tears of joy” by Bernama Online following the prime minister’s announcement that they were to expect a windfall of RM15,000 each following the listing of FELDA Global Venture Holding (FGVH).

Let me simplify the issue at hand. This is a bare knuckle fight between the bad guys (FGVH) and the good guys (the settlers). Let’s face it, if Najib sides with the settlers he would ask FGVH to issue 80 per cent of the shares to the settlers and settlers’ interests. Instead the settlers get the smaller portion while the bulk goes to his corporate buddies. 

What did he agree to? This man who proclaims people first, performance this and that? Close to two billion shares are offered at RM4.65 per share which will see FGVH collecting some RM9 billion. How is the earnings distributed? Sixty per cent to the minister in charge of FELDA who is Najib. Forty per cent to FELDA? Out of the RM3.6 billion, FELDA uses RM1.69 billion to pay the durian runtuh? And the remainder has to be used to pay off debts owed by FELDA such as the RM3 billion to EPF? Then how much is left with FELDA to run the business that it owns? 

Is RM400 million a year sufficient for FELDA to finance its operations and carry out its social responsibilities in FELDA schemes involving 220,000 people?

Only about 200 million shares were reserved for settlers and employees or an average of less than 2,000 shares each. That shows rakyat di dahulukan is just all rhetoric and just glorified slogans; 1.8 billion shares are offered to politicians, institutions, selected Bumis and so forth. 

Let’s cut through the corporate and political BS. The battleground is FELDA Holdings which is jointly owned by KPF and FGVH. KPF is owned by the settlers while FGVH is really a company owned by FELDA the GLC. FGVH also has business interests overseas. It didn’t share the overseas businesses with KPF though. It thought it can make money without having to share with the smelly settlers. They didn’t. They plotted to buy out the peasant interests by a strategy of corporate bullshitting. 

FGVH is really determined to kick out the settlers. They can’t do it outright. To offend settlers is unthinkable. FELDA settlements offer Umno and BN around 54 parliamentary seats. To offend FELDA people would hasten Najib’s journey to becoming the next opposition leader. Not that he won’t be there; his government’s ruinous public policies will ultimately install Najib as the opposition leader in the next Parliament. Meanwhile, we will let him utter “Autobots! Transform”. 

So they do it the “honourable” and more refined manner. By proposing to list FGVH and inviting KPF to participate. Sell the idea that FGVH has the business smarts to make more money. Bribe the peasants to agree. Two surefire ingredients to entice innocent but gullible settlers. 

It’s a fight between the bad guys, FGVH, and the good guys, innocent peasants. The oppressor and the oppressed. This government headed by Optimus Prime the chief transformer sides with the oppressors. And the oppressors say they are surprised why the peasants are revolting.

The prize? All the assets and revenue-generating businesses under FELDA Holdings. Meanwhile FGVH does some businesses overseas; that part of the FELDA business which to some numbskulls gives dignity to weather-torn settlers.

While FGVH yields paltry numbers, FELDA Holdings generates some RM3 billion a year. FGVH gets greedy. It wants to own FH all by itself. How to? Call in the con-sultans. Devise a plan. Do a listing, say the cons. The modern Hamman (adviser to Pharaoh) will kautim the Putrajaya Pharaoh. 

What does FGVH do overseas besides providing the FELDA Mandarins the excuse to take long holidays with the family in tow? Window shopping for Hermes bags and some imitation Jacob jewellery? It invested in a slew of businesses — cattle rearing, technology, etc, etc. Did it make money? It borrowed money in the first place. It lost a lot of money on its investments and has only lately shown some indications of profitability. I said some indications because the numbers do not seem to add up. The costs of businesses are born by FELDA, the profit part is shown on FGVH’s books. — sakmongkol.blogspot.com

* Sakmongkol AK47 is the nom de plume of Datuk Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz. He was Pulau Manis assemblyman (2004-2008).

* This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.

 

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