Felda settlers still with Barisan, says Shahrir


JOHOR BARU: Felda’s month-old chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad believes that settlers are still with Barisan Nasional despite the recent graft allegations involving several top officers.

“The prices of palm oil have gone up after the Prime Minister’s visit to China.

“I believe that the settlers know this and will continue to support Barisan and will not be swayed by the Opposition,” he said when asked whether the Felda (Federal Land Development Authority) issue would cause Barisan to lose its voters.

Shahrir said Felda would carry out valuations to determine the present value of its medium and long-term investments, which currently total RM1.439bil.

He said when Felda Global Ven­tures (FGV) was listed, Felda received about RM5.99bil from the listing.

“This money was used for va­rious purposes. RM1.7bil was given out as a windfall to the families of the Felda settlers, who each received RM15,000.

“We also gave all Felda staff two and a half months bonus, which amounted to RM20mil.

“We paid RM300mil and RM250mil as goodwill payments to the state governments of Sabah and Pahang,” he said after attending a Chinese New Year open house here yesterday.

Shahrir added that RM400mil was allocated as loans for settlers to renovate their homes and another RM883mil for the management of Felda.

On investments, he said the bulk of the RM1.439bil was spent on investments. They included:

* RM304mil worth of land in Bukit Katil, Malacca;

* RM86mil for the Grand Borneo Hotel in Sabah;

* RM500mil for the Grand Plaza service apartments in London;

* RM110mil for shares in Iris Corporation and another RM34.4mil worth of new shares in the company;

* RM225mil for the National Institute of Valuation property; and

* RM38mil to pay back to Felda Technoplant.

“We also included losses of RM108mil in failed projects such as the sturgeon fish farming venture and others that were mentioned in the Auditor-General’s report,” he added.

Shahrir disclosed the facts and figures after he was asked about a recent statement quoting him as questioning how RM4.6bil in proceeds from FGV’s initial public offering was spent.

“I wanted to provoke and see the reactions. There were all sorts, especially from the spin doctors.

“But I did not say the money was missing or had disappeared,” he added.

Asked about the status of the investments, he said the investment in Iris was good and Felda acquired some intellectual property.

However, Shahrir has asked his corporate representatives to make some enquiries about “certain matters”.

Asked about the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) ar­­rests in the past, he said Felda had already conducted its own internal enquiry and officials were suspended.

Last month, MACC nabbed five high-level personnel from Felda under its Ops Caviar.

All five are believed to have abused their positions in the company for personal gain since 2014.

It is learnt that all five were being investigated in relation to the sturgeon fish rearing project, which was worth about US$10mil (RM44.3mil).


   

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