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Gov’t to table White Paper on Felda in coming Parliament sitting

Published:  |  Modified:

The government will be tabling its White Paper on Felda in the Dewan Rakyat sitting which begins on Monday.

According to Singapore’s Straits Times, the White Paper will centre around RM10billion initial public offering (IPO) of Felda Global Ventures (FGV).

FGV was listed on the KLSE in 2012 and was the second biggest IPO in the world that year with a reference price of RM4.55, second only to Facebook at the time.

Citing financial papers it claimed to have seen, the Straits Times stated that since the IPO, Felda has accumulated RM10 billion in losses and debt of RM12 billion at the end of 2017.

The White Paper on the government-linked company was initially scheduled to be tabled in Parliament on Dec 10, last year, but was pushed to the next Dewan Rakyat sitting this month.

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said this was at the advice of the Attorney-General's Chambers due to pending legal matters.

Azmin had also said his ministry had been working closely with Felda to prepare the document in order to get an "in-depth picture of the crisis" surrounding the agency.

Meanwhile, sources told the Straits Times that the Felda White Paper will also feature several deals being investigated for abuse of power and breach of fiduciary duty.

“The most egregious of these is the decision to spend RM2.3 billion to buy a 37 percent stake in Indonesian planter Eagle High.

“Much of this investment has been written off as Eagle High's share price, already on the slide when the deal was struck in 2016, continued to plummet,” the online report further stated

It added that RM1.8billion in loans was due this year, including RM500million in May.

Former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak had last month blamed current premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad for Felda’s current financial quagmire, saying the latter drove the company to its 2012 IPO listing.

Najib alleged that Mahathir had forced Felda to find its own funding when he cut Felda funding back in 1996 when Mahathir was the fourth prime minister. 

“They (Felda settlers) urged me to take proactive measures, which were to borrow funds and list FGV on the stock market to finance large-scale replanting costs, and to help the welfare of settlers.

"Had I not done so, the plants would have aged and yield would have dropped, leading to Felda's possible disappearance in one or two decades," Najib had said.

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