WINDFALL FOR FELDA SETTLERS, REALLY?

Windfall for FELDA settlers, really?

When the Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB) was proposed in the late 1980s the scheme faced several hurdles and controversies within the Malay community. The Malays have never been financial savvy and they were used to the simple life of barely able to make ends meet and then at the end of the day should be grateful to God. But many were and still are too grateful to UMNO.

Some quarters in the Malay community questioned whether the scheme is “halal’ or not, because the transactions involved the banking system which is based on the capitalist system of interests. Some were skeptical whether the UMNO/BN government was just trying to collect huge funds and then siphoned it out somehow. Eventually the ASB was launched in January 2, 1990. The Malays started to borrow from banks to be invested into the ASB scheme and to ensure the scheme gained momentum several finance institutions provided easy loans.

To convince the Malays that it was a viable way of making some money and savings for the future UMNO/BN must make sure that the scheme has be successful and the investors must be given a windfall. Indeed the ASB investors did make profit at a combined dividend and bonus of 14 sen per unit of RM1 in year ending 1990. But since 2008 until now it has never reached 8 sen.

Has the ASB been successful?

The ASB has not been able to alleviate the economic status quo of the Malays. The NEP has to be continued but UMNO is still with its corrupt, greed and cronyism. The fact that the Malays still need help until now proves that all the efforts by UMNO have failed.

Now comes the listing of Felda Global Venture Holding Bhd (FGVH). It too has faced with resentments and controversies including court cases.Why are there resentments in the FGVH case? It is all because of UMNO. UMNO has a very bad track record in trying to uplift the Malays.

First of all the person in charge of the FGVH listing has been proven to be corrupt. Isa Samad has no experience in the corporate world. He is not working in the best interest of the Felda settlers or even UMNO but for Najib.

Bad track record of prominent GLCs

There are many GLCs which have incompetent people in the board of directors and even Sime Darby with a glorious track record had not been spared by the dirty hands of UMNO.  While MAS is a gone case, the Tabung Haji has not been spared either. The FGVH is going to be managed by the same kind of people whose first order of business will be to ensure that they have control, be given the best remunerations, allocated a few millions shares each, comfortable and shielded from liabilities, with ready scapegoats; all in their own personal interests an none about  the settlers.

In the case of the RM250 million NFC debacle managed by Shahrizat’s family, the people have seen how the debacle unfolded and criminal breach of trust did occur and with no serious action being taken by UMNO, the RM250 million will go down the drain. In short the track record of the UMNO initiatives to control and manage huge businesses is muddled with corruption, mismanagement, cronyism, losses and failures.

With the above examples of how incompetent and bad the UMNO/BN government has been who in their clear mind would trust the FGVH scheme initiated by Najib will end up successful? This prevents the settlers from giving all out support to the scheme; this could be just another huge scam.

Najib taking advantage of the FGVH listing

So to convince the settlers, Najib announced the windfall of RM15, 000 per household in three payments. Some people say it should be RM50, 000, but that is another story here. To take advantage of the situation, Najib will ensure that the first RM5, 000 will be distributed soon enough before the GE-13 and even before the listing process is completed. Then all the settlers will agree to the deal and will give a free hand to Najib to do what he likes with the entire scheme. That is the main purpose of the windfall, to acquire the mandate by the settlers for Najib to control everything, just like his mandate to have the final say on who should be the UMNO candidate in the coming GE-13.

Najib will therefore be able to kill two birds or more with one stone. The settlers will vote for UMNO/BN because the got the money and Najib will be able to make full use of the FGVH for his own interest. As for the settlers, they will just get this one-off windfall and their future can never be guaranteed, because knowing UMNO making so many blunders, the future of the Felda settlers is uncertain if not gloom. His father may be the one who pushed the Felda scheme to an acceptable success but Najib could be the one who destroys it.

Where the first payment will come from?

If Najib was to handout the first RM5,000 soon, how will Felda find the money? Of course there is the EPF. But let us not forget that Felda has already borrowed RM7 billion from the EPF which has not been paid back even a single sen. But will Najib again use the EPF money for the Felda handouts?  Well, if the FGVH listing is so successful, then Felda should first pay the EPF what it owed and not to borrow more from EPF because the EPF is for the interest of the majority while Felda is specifically for the settlers.

There are still many questions to be asked and even the ones that have been asked have not been properly answered. Najib only gives his personal guarantee that all will be alright in the FGVH listing. He knows that he can’t be trusted; that is why he made the guarantee. Just look at Malaysia now.

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