A DAP leader said the trust fund idea was just an afterthought and Putrajaya is robbing settlers in broad daylight.
KUALA LUMPUR: DAP leader Tony Pua accused Felda chairman Isa Samad of blatantly lying about the supposed trust fund set up to channel profits from the listing of Felda Gloval Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH).
Pua, the party’s national publicity chief, said the trust fund was clearly “an afterthought” designed to cover up Putrajaya’s attempt to contain a potential backlash from concerns that settlers may be “shortchanged” in the plantation giant’s initial public offering.
Felda or the National Land Development Scheme denied yesterday that settlers were sidelined after opposition leaders pointed out the meagre shares allocated to settlers.
Isa said the government had wanted more shares for the settlers and allocated 37% from the total shares to the Felda Settlers Cooperative (KPH) but it refused participation in the IPO (initial public offering).
A trust fund was instead set up to channel a 20% dividend from the IPO, which is set to raise RM10.5 billion, directly to them.
But Pua said KPH did not refuse to take part in the listing, adding that it had been left out in the exercise based on its April 27 statement.
The statement stated that the decision to leave them in a lurch contradicts the Budget statement issued by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak who gave his assurance the interest of the Felda settlers will be protected via the majority ownership of FGVH via KPF.
KPF had also stated that it had in “no uncertain terms” supported the government’s intent to list FGVH.
“Hence under such circumstances where KPF has been a willing participant, why should the government set up a new mysterious ‘trust fund’ when it could just park the shares whose beneficiaries are the Felda settlers, under KPF?
“The fact that the listing prospectus of FGVH made absolutely no mention of the existence of such a ‘trust fund’ only serves to deepen suspicions over the real intent of the government,” he said, referring to the FGHV IPO prospectus announcement made by Najib yesterday.
Pua, who is Petaling Jaya Utara MP, said the trust fund idea appeared to be an afterthought to placate the settlers who are clearly at the losing end of the Felda restructuring and FGVH listing exercise.
FGVH listing is Asian’s biggest IPO yet and the world’s second biggest after Facebook. With a projected market capitalisation of more than RM16 billion, it is expected to pave the way for Felda’s expansion with the plantation giant looking at becoming the world’s leading palm oil producer.
Observers believe the IPO would likely increase Najib’s winning chances in the 13th general election.
The listing had already attracted a strong cast of cornerstone investors including French agribusiness giant Louis Dreyfus, Fidelity Investments and Middle Eastern sovereign fund Qatar Holding LLC.