Rafizi: Felda buying stake in Indonesian firm a mistake

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PETALING JAYA: The plan by the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) to purchase an Indonesian firm’s shares may be Umno’s biggest mistake, said PKR MP Rafizi Ramli.

He planned to use the deal, valued at US$505.4 million (RM2.26 billion) to venture into the various Felda estates and tell the settlers why purchasing a 37% stake in PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk’s (EHP) is the wrong move.

Rafizi believed this could lead to BN’s downfall as all that was needed to defeat the ruling coalition was a 3-5% swing among Felda voters.

Rafizi said the planned purchase from EHP, a subsidiary of the Rajawali Group, would not benefit Felda settlers as Felda’s already drying funds would be further reduced.

“The settlers would feel the consequences if Felda’s cash flow shows inconsistency,” he said in a statement today.

Rafizi said the settlers would further feel the “heat” when they sell their oil palm fruits to the company, as the selling price and payment deadlines would be affected.

“It would also hit those who gave the replantation tasks to Felda, as they need to bear the debts on replantation and cost of living allowances while waiting for the oil palm trees to produce fruits,” he alleged.

Felda announced the acquisition last Friday. It came after Felda’s subsidiary, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV), abandoned its plan to purchase the same amount of shares from EHP, but at a much higher price of US$680 million.

The company said the investment will help them and their associates to venture into the lucrative Indonesian market.

CIMB Group chairman Nazir Razak had questioned the rationale behind the purchase which was deemed too expensive.

Rafizi, planning to milk this issue to the fullest, said he would call for daily press conferences starting tomorrow to further speak out on the harmful effects of the deal.

“I am also arranging for a few Felda leaders and activists to speak at the coming press conferences.

“Then I will lodge a police report against Prime Minister Najib Razak and Felda directors on Thursday,” he said.