Posts Tagged ‘Felda

13
Jan
18

Felda settlers want changes in leadership

Felda settlers want changes in leadership

Jempol Felda settlers complain of higher debts and lack of proper management.

PUTRAJAYA: The scandals affecting Felda and increasing debts are troubling settlers.

Abdul Rahman Ramli, 58, speaking on behalf of settlers from the Felda Raja Alias settlement in Jempol, claimed the management had “absolutely failed” in its administration of Felda.

Rahman was present at the handing-over of a memorandum to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to urge them to investigate how Felda’s Jalan Semarak land changed hands today.

“As a settler, it breaks my heart to see that the management has absolutely failed us.

“Not only that, there are various scandals that Felda have been implicated in.

“The debts of settlers are also going up. Some owe Felda thousands of ringgit,” he told FMT today.

Rahman suggested that perhaps it was time Felda changed its leaders, who were drawn mainly from Umno.

“I hope all Malaysians understand our situation and why we are upset by the alleged corruption in Felda.”

Rahman was disappointed the management cannot even show settlers their accounts.

“Even with all the technology available, they can’t do something so simple.

“This is disheartening and it keeps us in very low spirits.”

It was time the settlers spoke out against such bad management of Felda, Rahman, who is also Jempol Amanah chairman, added.

“We do not have to wait for Felda to be implicated in such mega scandals before we voice out our concerns. There’re just too many scandals, just one after the other.”

New leaders can make the change for the settlers, he believed.

“I honestly believe that this is not the end of the road for us, all we need are better leaders, new ones, and we can get back on the right track.”

He said if Felda continues to be involved in controversies, settlers will lose confidence in the present administration running things.

…more
Felda settlers want changes in leadership
December 27, 2017 – FMT

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08
Jan
18

We’re ready to vote PH in GE14, say second-generation Felda settlers

We’re ready to vote PH in GE14, say second-generation Felda settlers

THE second generation of Felda settler families is ready to choose Pakatan Harapan (PH) at GE14, saying poor management of the agency has burdened their lives for too long.

“We need to make a change because there have been too many scandals and there are obviously weaknesses (in administration). My friends and I all want change. We will vote for a party other than Barisan Nasional (BN).

“For too long our parents have been burdened with poor management that is the fault of Felda itself,” Jamaliah Musa, 50, told The Malaysian Insight.

Jamaliah was one of 300 attendees at the launch of the Jelajah Selamatkan Felda (Save Felda roadshow) organised by the Felda Settlers’ Children Association (Anak), a group representing second generation settlers, in Felda Sungai Sayong, Kota Tinggi last night.

The event was attended by Anak president Mazlan Aliman and PH leaders, including Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and PKR Johor chairman Hassan Karim, who spoke on current issues involving Felda.

The Felda vote is spread out over 54 rural parliamentary seats in Peninsular Malaysia.

Established in 1956 as a poverty eradication-cum-agriculture development scheme, there are Felda settler families in their fourth generation.

The first generation of settlers received 10 acres of land from Felda to plant rubber or oil palm. This generation is estimated to make up 30 to 40% of Felda voters.

Their children, meanwhile, make up between 50 and 60% of Felda voters.

Felda’s problems, however, have come to light in recent years. They involve huge debts borne by settlers over earlier replanting schemes and overpriced property purchases by Felda subsidiary Felda Investment Corporation Sdn Bhd (FIC).

The latest scandal to come to light is the dubious transfer of prime land owned by Felda in Kuala Lumpur that was sold for RM270 million to a company given the power of attorney to develop the land, without Felda receiving a sen.

Another attendee Hasnah Mahmud said she could not wait for GE14 to make a change in the country.

“I feel excited for the upcoming election. God willing, I am ready to make a change.”

She said even though she had attended several activities by government-sponsored Gerakan Persatuan Wanita Felda (GPW), she has decided not to vote for the government of the day.

“GPW tries to drum up support of young women for BN, but I have made my decision.”

Meanwhile, Muhammad Khairul Omar said he left Umno to join Bersatu as he was disappointed with Felda’s failure to manage settlers’ plantations, as well as the unreasonable debt incurred by his parents’ generation.

“Tonight’s event is full of ceramah by leaders such as Mazlan but to redeem Felda is not easy. As Mat Sabu says, Felda settlers are hard-headed people.

“But this time I am confident there is no other choice. There is no longer a place for Umno in Felda and among settlers,” said the second-generation resident of Felda Penggeli Timur, Kota Tinggi.

…more
We’re ready to vote PH in GE14, say second-generation Felda settlers
6 Jan 2018 – TMI

12
Dec
17

The controversial contract that can cost BN the Felda vote

The controversial contract that can cost BN the Felda vote

ABOUT 15 years ago, tens of thousands of settlers signed a replanting agreement with Felda that activists claim has led to one of their biggest problems today – crushing debt.

That agreement is now being studied by the settlers’ children, activists, lawyers, and politicians who want to either challenge it in court or use it as fodder for their general election campaigns.

Some of the settlers and their lawyers allege that the agreement is lopsided.

Others are working with politicians in Pakatan Harapan to turn it into a defining issue that could sway the Felda vote which impacts 56 parliamentary seats in the peninsula – most of which are held by Barisan Nasional.

There are 112,635 Felda settlers, not including their wives and children.

“We are forming a committee to study this issue at the party level before bringing it to the Pakatan Harapan presidential council,” said Amanah communications chief Khalid Samad.

Amanah, together with Bersatu, PKR, and DAP, form the PH alliance.

“We hope to go on a roadshow in Felda areas to explain the issue just like we did with the 1MDB (1Malaysia Development Bhd) financial scandal, and offer solutions,” Khalid told The Malaysian Insight.

One of the lawyers studying the agreement, Dr Zulqarnain Luqman said 95% of the settlers signed the contract with Felda so that the agency could replant the holdings.

Hisomuddin Bakar, the son of a settler in Felda Cini, Pahang, said each Felda settler owned a four-hectare oil palm or rubber plantation, and by the beginning of the millennium, many of those trees were too old to bear fruit or latex.

He said Felda crafted an agreement wherein settlers would relinquish management of their estates to the agency so that it could replant the land with new trees.

It took about three years to replant and for the trees to mature, during which the holdings did not produce yields. During this period, each settler was paid a living allowance of RM1,500 per month.

Former plantation manager Shariman Alang Ahmad said oil palms took about three years to reach maturity and produce fruit.

“The optimal fruit bearing age is between eight and nine years, and the yield usually goes down once the tree is over 20 years old,” said Shariman, who worked for a government-linked company.

“At the end of the three years, when the trees started to bear fruit, Felda continued to manage the settlers’ holdings including maintaining the trees and harvesting the fruit.

“Felda did not return their holdings to the settlers because it claimed the settlers needed to repay the cost of replanting which ran into hundreds of thousands of ringgit,” Hisomuddin said.

Settlers were also told they needed to repay the living allowance they were paid during the three years.

Meanwhile, Felda continued to pay them RM1,500 per month while holding on to the holdings.

Settlers have claimed that their debts came up to over RM100,000 and that the agency could be collecting more than what it was owed.

“The question is, when are the settlers going to be done with the debt? Will it be passed on to their children and grandchildren?” said Hisomuddin.

One of the clauses of the agreement stipulates that the settlers may not, for any reason or under any circumstances, terminate the agreement until all debts and payments that are owed , including income advances, have been paid in full to Felda.

…more
The controversial contract that can cost BN the Felda vote
15 Nov 2017 – TMI

27
Nov
17

MACC will open more files on Felda, says Shahrir

MACC will open more files on Felda, says Shahrir

THE Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) will be investigating more cases involving wrongdoing and corruption in Felda, said the agency’s chairman, Shahrir Abdul Samad.

Shahrir said MACC’s investigation into the agency is unlikely to be limited to the purchase of a hotel in Kuching, and property in Kensington, London, by Felda Investment Corporation (FIC).

“I don’t think it (the investigation) will only stop with FIC and the Kensington property, but there will be other cases. We are open to investigation,” the Johor Baru MP said during a press conference at Dialogue TN50 with Felda new-generation settlers at Menara Felda in Kuala Lumpur today.

Present was Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

MACC is currently investigating FIC’s purchase of the Hotel Grand Borneo in Kuching, which is affiliated to the 1Borneo Hypermall in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.

FIC reportedly paid RM86.4 million for the hotel in 2012.

Meanwhile, Merdeka Palace, a five-star hotel with 213 rooms, in Kuching was allegedly purchased for RM50 million more than its original value.

Park City Grand Plaza in Kensington was reported to have been bought for RM330 million, allegedly RM220 million more than its original value of RM110 million.

The acquisition is FIC’s first London property and Felda’s second. FIC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Felda.

The Kensington purchase was made under FIC chief executive officer Mohd Zaid Abdul Jalil during the time that Isa Samad was chairman of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), another Felda subsidiary.

MACC has called on a few individuals to assist in investigations regarding the purchases and have also raided a few locations, including Isa’s office when he was in FGV and the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) office.

In March 2015, MACC questioned one of Isa’s sons over the Kensington purchase, according to Malaysiakini, citing a source privy to the investigations.

In May that year, Paul Low, the minister in charge of transparency and integrity, told Parliament that MACC found no wrongdoing in FIC’s London purchase.

In January this year, newly appointed Felda chairman Shahrir ordered all FIC board members to resign to facilitate the reorganisation of the company.

Isa resigned from FGV on June 19 after a public row with FGV president and CEO Zakaria Arshad over questionable deals worth hundreds of millions of ringgit.

Isa has since been appointed acting chairman of SPAD.

FIC was previously known as Capital Protocol Sdn Bhd before it was incorporated by Felda in July 2013. –November 14, 2017.

…more
MACC will open more files on Felda, says Shahrir
14 Nov 2017 – TMI

17
Oct
17

Why are Felda assets held by obscure offshore entities?

Why Felda assets held by obscure offshore entities, Rafizi queries

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli has questioned why several of Felda’s overseas assets are held by obscure companies registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

He pointed out that this was despite Felda’s audited report claiming the assets were held by entities registered in the United Kingdom.

For example, he said the audited report showed the Grand Plaza Kensington Hotel in London, purchased for RM330 million, was placed under FIC London Hotel (Private) Ltd registered in the UK but it was instead owned by a company of the same name in the BVI.

Rafizi said likewise, Felda’s assets such as the RM380 million Felda House Wembly and RM656 million Grand Felda Hotel in Wembley, UK, saw a similar setup.

The two properties were placed under BVI-registered FIC Global Ltd instead of the one registered in the UK.

He pointed out that the UK-registered entities are listed as subsidiaries of Felda from public records but there was no mention about the BVI-registered entities bearing the same name.

“Why the need for Felda House to be placed under a BVI-registered company whose ownership is kept secret?” he asked in a statement today.

Rafizi added that with regard to Felda House, it was charged to Bangkok Bank Public Company Limited for RM60 million loan to FIC Management Houses Pte Limited.

The Pandan MP said checks found that FIC Management Houses Pte Limited, which manages the Felda House and collects rental, was a subsidiary of Felda’s investment arm Felda Investments Corporation.

However, he claimed there was no record of the loan in FIC Management Houses Pte Limited’s financial statement.

Rafzi urged Felda to clarify the ownership of the BVI entities and the status of the loan.

…more
Why Felda assets held by obscure offshore entities, Rafizi queries
16 Oct 2017 – Malaysiakini

20
Sep
17

Where’s the money, Felda settlers ask government

Where’s the money, Felda settlers ask government

TWO months after being told of a windfall from the government, Felda settlers are sceptical that they will see any of the incentives Prime Minister Najib Razak had promised them.

This cynicism, most of which comes from second-generation settlers, will impact the government’s ability to woo this crucial voting bloc, which has traditionally sided with the Barisan Nasional ruling coalition.

Felda settlements in the nationwide land-development scheme are spread out in 54 parliamentary seats.

In late July, as part of Felda Day celebrations, Najib pledged that each of the 94,956 settler families will get a RM5,000 bonus to be paid out by the end of August.

“But we are nearing the end of September and have not seen a sen of that money,” said Mohamad Tarmizi, of Felda Jengka 10, in Jengka, Pahang.

“The mock cheques have been delivered to our settlements. But we have yet to see the money,” said the 39-year-old.

Another second-generation settler, Andak Ahmad said he and his friends are used to being disappointed by the government.

“We will just wait and see. We are not hoping for anything because we have had bad experiences with these types of promises,” he said when met on the sidelines of opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan’s ceramah, ‘Malam Semarak Kasih Felda’, in Jengka last night.

The PH ceramah is the coalition’s latest attempt to get the Felda vote, and also the first ceramah after Najib announced the incentive package.

The RM5,000 bonus, which was said to total RM474.78 million, was announced alongside various schemes to write off the settlers’ debts.

An RM300 million grant was also provided to write off loans that settlers took to replant their holdings.

But even some first-generation settlers, who are among BN’s most loyal supporters, are not banking on these promises.

“We haven’t seen any of the RM5,000. So I don’t care about the incentives,” said Jali Sulong of Felda Jengka 12.

The 66-year-old believes Najib’s announcement was a big election ploy and he questioned whether the government really serious about erasing some of their debts.

…more
Where’s the money, Felda settlers ask government
20 Sep 2017 – TMI

24
Jun
17

Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief

Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief

Can we entrust the welfare of millions of Malaysians who use public transport to a man, who has proven to be incompetent and inexperienced with questionable integrity?

COMMENT

On June 19, when Isa Samad resigned as Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad (FGV) chairman, Prime Minister Najib Razak appointed him as the acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) with immediate effect “in appreciation of Isa’s role” in FGV.

This is an absolutely ridiculous appointment. No one will believe that Isa is the best candidate to fill the post left vacant with the retirement of Syed Hamid Albar.

Here are three main reasons why Isa Samad should not be the chief of SPAD.

First, he is undoubtedly incompetent. Under his chairmanship, FGV went from glory to sorry.

In 2012, when FGV went for its US$3.1 billion initial public offering (IPO), it was the world’s second largest IPO of the year, after only Facebook Inc’s US$16 billion IPO.

In five years, FGV’s market capitalisation dropped more than 60% from around RM19 billion to only around RM6 billion, meaning RM13 billion had evaporated from the original value of the company.

The share price went from RM4.641on June 29, 2012 to only RM1.75 as of close of trading on June 23, 2017.

In addition, FGV started with a cash surplus of RM5.09 billion in December 2012 but four years later in December 2016, it is RM1.97 billion in debt. FGV’s current sorry state of affairs didn’t happen overnight, it was a result of a series of missteps, all of which were made under the watch of Isa.

Second, Isa has little, if any, experience in public transport. He made no significant contribution in public transport either during his over 20 years as Negeri Sembilan menteri besar or during his one year stint as Federal Territories minister.

Even as an MP, there is no traceable record of him raising public transport issues.

The chairman of SPAD should be someone with experience in the public transport industry and passionate about public transport in Malaysia.

I am sure there are more suitable candidates from within the public transport sector or relevant industries in Malaysia or within SPAD and other relevant government agencies for the position.

So, why did Najib choose Isa over others?

Third and most importantly, Isa has a highly-questionable integrity track record.

He was found guilty of money politics by Umno over the contest for the Umno vice-presidency in the party polls in 2004, and was suspended by the party for three years from 2005.

The now suspended CEO of FGV, Datuk Zakaria Arshad, was quoted by The Edge that there were instances of direct negotiations and direct contracts in FGV, which he attempted to stop but was overruled by the board of directors, led by Isa as non-executive chairman.

As pointed out by my colleague Liew Chin Tong (Kluang MP), SPAD is directly or indirectly responsible for the RM55 billion East Cost Rail Link, RM60 billion KL-Singapore High-Speed Rail, MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (RM28 billion) and MRT Circle Line (more than RM20 billion).

Therefore, how can a person with such a questionable track record like Isa be the chief of SPAD?

…more
Here’s why Isa Samad should not be SPAD chief
By Yeo Bee Yin
June 24, 2017 – FMT




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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?

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