Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FGV listing benefits all, says Najib

WIN-WIN SITUATION: ‘no reason for others to envy felda settlers'

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak hands over Felda Kasih aid to Kamarun Helan Jaafar Sidek, 49, while FELDA chairman, Tan Sri Isa Samad and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, Datuk Ahmad Maslan (second from right)look on at kampung Air Hitam.

JERANTUT: THERE is no reason for others to envy Felda settlers as the listing of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV) has also benefited those outside the settlement schemes through its shares and various aid programmes, Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday said.
He said the public could also enjoy the wealth created by Felda as FGV shares were also bought by various public agencies and investment funds such as Tabung Haji, Employees Provident Fund, Permodalan Nasional Bhd and state governments.
At the same time, he said, Felda also paid huge amounts of tithes to religious authorities every year.
“All will enjoy the benefits, including state governments such as Pahang, which was allocated RM250 million worth of FGV shares,” he said after launching the Kas1h Felda programme at Felda Padang Piol here.
The prime minister said a total of RM60 million had also been allocated to Yayasan Felda to repair 12,000 houses in villages near 317 Felda schemes nationwide under the Kas1h Felda programme.
For the first phase, Yayasan Felda will spend RM20 million to help 4,000 eligible households, which will receive RM5,000 each to repair their homes.
On the decision by an agency under the Pas-led Kedah government to sell its FGV shares after the purchase was heavily criticised, Najib said those who opposed the listing should not buy the shares in the first place.
He also said the 800 units of FGV shares offered to each settler were adequate as a higher number of shares would require them to take bigger loans.
Asked whether Felda should take legal action against those who gave misleading information and spread lies on the FGV listing, Najib said it should not be the main option as the government had always given priority to countering baseless allegations with facts.
“Legal action will take time and involve technical matters. We should instead focus on convincing Felda settlers that the listing and other initiatives by the government will always benefit them.” Earlier, Najib said each Felda settler had to fork out about RM68,000 if they wanted to buy FGV shares that would give them profits similar to the RM15,000 windfall that Felda agreed to give them.
“We have made it easier for them (by giving the windfall) and this is indeed a very special arrangement for them.” Contrary to allegations made by the opposition, Najib stressed the FGV listing was very successful, with its shares being sought after, including by the rich Qatari government, whose prime minister had requested to buy “as many as possible” of FGV shares.
However, Najib said the government had decided to give priority to Felda settlers who would own 22.5 per cent of FGV shares through individual ownership and a special fund created for them.
He said Felda settlers would continue to receive other benefits, including duit Raya, of which the amount would be announced during the fasting month.

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