Freeing FGV from Fiasco

Steps are being taken to untangle the mess in Felda Global Venture Bhd (FGV), which was listed five years ago to the one of the world’s premier commodity producer and end-to-end player, currently plagues with multiple controversies and alleged scandals.

NST story:

FGV crisis to end soon

(File pix) FGV chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad. Pix by Adi Safri

THE fate of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV) boardroom tussle will finally be resolved this week, and the ultimate decision will depend on its golden shareholder.

After a series of statements and counter-claims from both camps — FGV president and chief executive officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad and FGV chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad — a resolution could come as early as today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given his assurance that the issue would be settled before the end of Ramadan.

Hari Raya Aidilfitri will be celebrated on Sunday.

Zakaria, who was forced to take leave to facilitate an internal audit, has confirmed that he will reply to a show-cause letter from the board either today or tomorrow.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which has initiated an investigation into FGV,
has made quick progress and the probe was 60 per cent completed as at Friday.

But the key factor will be the government, or specifically the Finance Ministry, which owns a golden share in the world’s third biggest palm oil producer .

“As the golden shareholder, the government has the jurisdiction to appoint and revoke three key positions in FGV,” a source told the New Straits Times yesterday.

“The positions are that of FGV chairman, FGV president and the Finance Ministry representative to the FGV board,” the source said.

Stakeholders, including the National Felda Settlers Children Association (Anak), have offered their own proposals for resolving FGV’s woes.

FGV, one of the biggest initial public offerings in the world when it was listed in 2012, debuted at RM5.39 per share.

Its share price and market capitalisation has taken a beating since then, attributed to low commodity prices, downstream losses and management issues. FGV closed at RM1.76 a share on Friday.

Anak chairman Mazlan Aliman had last week suggested that FGV’s biggest shareholder — the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) — call for an extraordinary shareholders meeting to vote on the re-composition of FGV’s board of directors.

This would be costly and take time, and was not likely to happen given the expected timeframe to resolve the impasse, the source said.

Anak members had also proposed that Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad replace Isa as FGV chairman, another unlikely possibility as it would go against the best interest of good corporate governance.

Shahrir was appointed Felda chairman in January. Prior to that, Isa was chairman of both Felda and FGV.

“Remember that a month ago, Felda submitted three names to be on the FGV board,” the source said, pointing out that Felda did not currently have board representation in FGV.

Felda’s proposed nominees for the FGV board are believed to be Felda board member Datuk Abu Bakar Harun, deputy director-general in economic development Datuk Ab Ghani Mohd Ali and deputy director-general in management Datuk Muzzammil Mohd Nor.

Last week, at a breaking-of-fast programme with more than 6,000 Felda settlers in Johor, Najib said the government was committed to transforming FGV into a corporate company with high value in terms of revenue and shares.

***************

This afternoon, Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission invited former FGV and Felda Chairman Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad to be interviewed and probably had his statement taken in Putrajaya.

NST story:

MACC summons Isa, wife to Putrajaya HQ

(File pix) Former Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad and his wife have been called by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have their statements recorded. Pix by Aizuddin Saad

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad and his wife have been called by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to have their statements recorded.

Sources told the New Straits Times that the commission has summoned the couple to its headquarters in Putrajaya tomorrow at 10am.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced that Isa had voluntarily relinquished his post as FGV’s chairman, and appointed Tan Sri Sulaiman Mahbob as acting chairman.

FGV is currently being investigated by MACC for possible misconduct and abuse of power following a boardroom tussle between Isa and suspended chief executive officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad.

On June 9, the NST reported that one of MACC’s focus areas was on alleged power abuse by a top official who had allowed FGV to pay for his wife’s travels on first-class flights although she is not entitled to such benefits.

Sources said this was among the details included in the documents that had been seized by the MACC earlier this month from the FGV headquarters at Menara Felda.

***************

This was after a series of MACC officers visits to FGV HQ at Menara Felda in KLCC and several documents were taken away last week.

It was after FGV BoD decided that CEO Dato’ Zakaria Arshad and CFO Ahmad Tifli be forced to take leave, pending internal investigations on the alleged wrongdoings in the operations of FGV.

The Star story:

Thursday, 8 June 2017 | MYT 1:23 PM

FGV: Isa welcomes MACC probe, but refuses to resign

image: http://www.thestar.com.my/~/media/online/2017/06/08/05/25/isa-samad-bne.ashx/?w=620&h=413&crop=1&hash=B83F250CCA9061D5192792AADAF0CE6D2A832BCF

- Bernama pic

– Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR: Saying he welcomes an ongoing corruption investigation, Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad (pic) has rejected calls for him to step down following his public falling out with FGV’s suspended president and chief executive officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad.

Isa said there was no reason for him to resign as he did not do anything wrong.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Mohd Puad Zarkashi had on Wednesday called for both Isa and Zakaria to resign from their positions as their “open warfare” was shameful to FGV and showed that there was no consensus between the two.

“That is his opinion. Nowadays, there are so many views, some people understand and some don’t,” said Isa.

“It’s best to know the full story, which is what I’ve been saying – don’t interpret it differently,” he told reporters after presenting Ramadan aid to the needy at Menara Felda on Thursday.

Isa also said he welcomed the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s investigation into improprieties involving the company.

“That is their job. Let them do their work according to their process. My process (at the company level) is to issue a showcause letter, allow Zakaria to reply, and then we make a decision,” he said.

More than a dozen MACC officers had earlier arrived at Menara Felda here to retrieve documents belonging to Zakaria in relation to an investigation on delayed payments owed to FGV subsidiary Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd by Safitex, an Afghan company it had dealings with.

Isa also said it was a “good move” to appoint former minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala as an independent party to offer recommendations on the suspension of Zakaria and three other senior managers.

“We welcome his appointment with open arms and, of course, we will work with him,” added Isa.

Zakaria and three others were issued a letter by Isa on Tuesday asking them to take an indefinite leave of absence pending a probe into the dealings between Delima Oil and Safitex.

The other three suspended officers are FGV chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha, FGV Trading chief executive officer Ahmad Salman Omar, and Delima Oil Products senior general manager Kamarzaman Abd Karim.

Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2017/06/08/isa-welcomes-macc-probe/#Odltf153ykxY6hAA.99

Prior to the ‘suspension’ of Zakaria and Tifli, FGV Chairman Isa had asked Zakaria to resign and vacate his post.

************

NST story:

Zakaria Tells Isa He Won’t Resign As CEO, Urge MACC To Investigate FGV

All were not done in accordance to Company’s Act 1965.

Isa was seen to be very arrogant in his conduct as the Chairman of the FGV BoD. Hence, he was literally brought down to size.

Bernama story as carried by The Mole:

Isa no longer chairman of FGV

by Syndicated News

Sulaiman held senior positions in the civil service and is now chairman of several companies.

Sulaiman held senior positions in the civil service and is now chairman of several companies.

Syndicated News

Written by Syndicated News

PUTRAJAYA — June 19, 2017: Tan Sri Isa Samad has voluntarily relinquished his position as Felda Global Ventures Holdings chairman and will be replaced by retired senior civil servant Tan Sri Dr. Sulaiman Mahbob.

Isa however has been appointed acting chairman of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) also with immediate effect.

In announcing this today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said he had earlier met with Isa and former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Idris Jala to discuss FGV’s future and Isa’s role.

“Isa voluntarily agreed to relinquish his position as FGV chairman. In appreciation of Isa’s role, I agreed to appoint him the acting SPAD chairman,” Najib told reporters after handing over keys to owners of the 1M Public Servants Housing Programme (PPA1M) Selasih here today.

Najib said that internal action will be taken to determine the legal process and through the FGV inquiry board, the decisions against the FGV Chief Executive Officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad and three other senior executives who were asked to go on leave recently.

“This is necessary as it represents the governance principle of a public listed company. The investigation does not mean they are guilty. The FGV board will make a just decision as soon as possible,” he added.

According to Najib, the restructuring reflects the government’s desire to place FGV on a firm footing and ensure a bright future for the company.

Asked why Sulaiman was named acting chairman, he said: “This is until we make a final decision. We needed a quick change. If a new person is appointed by the board, it will take a while. We want FGV to operate uninterrupted.”

Sulaiman, 68, was an independent non-executive director of FGV as well as chairman of  Telekom Malaysia and the Minority Shareholders Monitoring Group, Malaysian Institute of Economic Research and Jambatan Kedua Sdn. Bhd.

He has vast experience, having served the government for over 38 years, including as director-general of the Economic Planning Unit and secretary-general of the then Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs. — Bernama

**********

The announcement came after Isa had been called to meet Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak.

Despite the global economic recession in 2015-16 which affected the trade of commodity due to crash of raw oil price, FGV maintained profitability the past five years and dividend yield.

However, the market price of the stock dipped well below listed price of RM4.60. It hit bottom low recently, when the boardroom tiff between Isa and Zakaria became a nationwide headline.

It is necessary for the confidence towards FGV is nurtured back quickly. The ability to perform and pay dividend annually as a corporate entity is half of the story.

Public confidence, especially amongst the Felda settlers who were very bullish when Prime Minister Najib personally endorsed the listing of FGV and quip as “The new frontier for the FELDA community into global business” had the hope of so many of 113,000 settlers’ families.

The recovery of FGV confidence would prop back the market price and capitalisation. So many institutional investors representing the larger segment of Malaysians are the stakeholders.

 

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Published in: on June 20, 2017 at 17:00  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Salam Ramadan BigDog.

    I think your post should be best titled… Freeing FGV from Corrupt Malays and Muslims.

    On another note, you should have posted the picture of those FGV’s big-shots smoking cigars in London.


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