Sabahans were first shortchanged in 1990 when Felda decided to stop opening settlers schemes in the Sabah but continued to do so in Peninsular Malaysia.
Posing the question, an opposition parliamentarian here is also demanding that the Barisan Nasional government reveal if there were any other beneficiaries that would emerge from the deal.
Tawau MP Chua Soon Bui also wanted to know how such a move would benefit the Felda settlers in Sabah, and the people at large.
Felda has a 99 year lease on a total of 310,953 acres of land in various states. About 35% or a third of the Felda land involved in the listing is in Sabah.
“The government should be answerable to the people of Sabah when a large chunk of its proceeds (60%) which is contributed by Sabah, will be cashed out without benefiting Sabah and its people,” she said.
Chua said based on the numbers provided by the government the deal was far from transparent.
She said, according to the figures provided, of the RM9.96 billion being raised through the listing “only RM4.46 billions or 40% would accrue to FGVH and the remaining 60% or RM5.5 billion would be cashed out”.
“With the windfall profits due to the 112,635 settlers at RM15,000 each, for a total of RM1.69 billions, the government should clarify to the people its net IPO (initial public offering) of RM4.81 billions,” she said.
Betrayed Sabah settlers
Chua, who is a vice-president of the Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP), pointed out that Sabah Felda only has 1,647 settlers in a land area of 30,408 acres, which makes up less than 10% of the total 310,953 acres, whereas the rest of 280,543 acres belong to Felda Plantations, which thus raises more proceeds on its IPO.
She reminded that the original aim of setting up Felda in Sabah was to help eradicate poverty in the state.
“Unfortunately, the people of Sabah were shortchanged when Felda decided on Jan 1, 1990 that no more settlers scheme were to be implemented and with less than 10% of its settlers scheme established in Sahabat, Lahad Datu and Kalabakan.
“The people of Sabah felt betrayed because there were more settlers schemes in Peninsular Malaysia,” she said.
She said the listing and cashing in on Felda lands in Sabah would be a double blow and betrayal of trust if the deal was not transparent and those involved in setting it up were not held accountable to the people of Sabah.