MUADZAM SHAH: Second Finance Minister Datuk Dr Jamaludin Jarjis has reassured settlers that a thorough study will be conducted on the social impact of Felda’s proposed listing to ensure that their interests are not jeopardised.
He said the findings of the study, to be conducted by a committee comprising the Land and Co-operative Development, Agriculture, Rural Development and Finance Ministries, would be submitted to the Cabinet.
However, he did not say when the findings would be handed over.
The rights of the settlers, like their estates, would not be affected, he said, adding that only estates that were not owned by them would be involved in the proposed listing on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE).
Felda had one million hectares of land, half of which was not occupied by settlers and it was this portion that would be listed so that the settlers would get shares and the funds raised could be used for Felda’s activities, he said.
Bernama was quoting Dr Jamaludin as saying this after he presented aid to the less fortunate at the Felda Keratong 5 mosque, Bandar Tun Razak, near here, on Friday night.
He said the proposed listing was aimed at getting funds to activate the estate agency as had been done in the electricity and communications sectors.
“Felda can use the funds for its estate activities and not depend on government allocations.
“Just like Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Telekom which were able to quickly activate the electricity and communications sectors, we want to modernise the agricultural and estate sector,” he said.
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said that a careful study must be conducted on the proposed listing of Felda to dispel any notion that the settlers’ interests would be neglected because if such feelings were allowed to fester they would be exploited by groups out to create trouble.
The proposal to list Felda was announced in the 2004 Budget.
In Petaling Jaya, Felda Holdings Sdn Bhd chairman Tan Sri Dr Mohd Yusof Noor said the decision to put on hold its listing was in the interest of settlers.
“Our only concern is the welfare of the settlers,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul Aziz, executive director of Avenue Capital Resources Bhd which is Felda Holdings' financial adviser, said they were ready to submit the financial report of Felda Holdings to the Securities Commission for consideration after it was delayed.
He refused to comment further.
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