Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PKR suggests Felda listing going ahead behind DG’s back

PKR said Datuk Dzulkifli Abd Wahab “suspension” as Felda director general helps clear the way for a controversial public listing — which its settlers fear will shortchange them.

Senator Syed Husin Ali told a press conference here today the prime minister’s office ordered Dzulkifli to an eight months study leave, so that chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad (picture) who recently replaced Dzulkifli as Felda Investment Co-operative (KPF) chief can get on with the capitalisation exercise.

Under the proposal to list Felda Global Ventures (FGV), settlers will swap their 51 per cent stake in Felda Holdings — which made RM760 million last year — for a 61 per cent share in FGV, whose international subsidiaries have reportedly lost RM500 million up to 2010.

The former PKR deputy president said Dzulkifli was also replaced while he was performing the haj in Mecca when he should have chaired KPF board meetings as its chairman.

“He was replaced while he was on pilgrimage. And now he’s effectively suspended until July or August next year, which is after the scheduled listing. This is all very suspicious. They have gone behind his back,” he said.

The Association of Felda Settlers’ Children (Anak) has threatened a mass protest next month if Datuk Seri Najib Razak does not withdraw the leave order issued to Dzulkifli, claiming he was removed because he was not in agreement with Isa over the Felda listing on Bursa Malaysia.

The Malaysian Insider reported that the prime minister issued a letter on Friday directing Felda director-general Datuk Dzulkifli Abdul Wahab to go on eight months’ leave due to clashes with Isa.

Anak also lodged a complaint with the Co-operatives Commission of Malaysia (CCM) in October over Isa’s appointment as KPF chief.

The appointment is being challenged on the grounds that the former Umno vice-president is a “contract worker” and not a member of the co-operative whose membership is limited to settlers and permanent Felda staff.

The settlers’ co-operative owns the majority stake in Felda Holdings that manages Felda’s 880,000-hectare plantation landbank across the country.

Dzulkifli, who was deputy director-general before his promotion, has served Felda for 30 years.

The profitable Felda Holdings has a workforce of some 19,000 employees, with a labour force of 46,795 workers at 300 estates, 70 palm oil mills, seven refineries, four kernel crushing plants, 13 rubber factories, manufacturing plants and several logistic and bulking installations spread throughout Malaysia and several locations overseas.

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