Hornbill Unleashed

July 24, 2017

‘DOJ pursuing assets worth RM70,000 to each Felda household’

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

The special incentive of RM5,000 each for each Federal Land Authority (Felda) settler household is a third the windfall announced just before the 13th general election, thanks to the scandals plaguing the country, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang said.

He estimated that if the US$1.7 billion worth of 1MDB-linked assets on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) seizure list were liquidated and distributed to the 94,956 Felda families, they would receive about RM70,000 each.

“There are too many scandals in the country which directly affect the livelihood of Malaysians, whether it be the 1MDB scandal which had given the country the international infamy and ignominy of a global kleptocracy, or the equally monstrous Felda and FGV scandals,” he said in a statement today.

As such, he said Pakatan Harapan MPs will raise the issue during the Dewan Rakyat sitting tomorrow to seek transparency on why the “goodies” announced for Felda families in the lead up to GE14 pales in comparison to that doled out before the election in 2013.

Six incentives

Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak had today announced an allocation of RM474.78 million, to pay cash incentives of RM5,000 to each Felda family.

This was among the list of other incentives announced by the PM to court the crucial Felda vote bank.

He also announced that 77,924 settlers who are still paying their FGV equity loans would have part of the balance disposed of at a “ringgit-to-ringgit rate”, costing the government RM128.10 million.

Those who have finished paying the loan would receive a reward of RM1,820.

Settlers took up a loan of RM3,640 each to purchase 800 units of FGV shares when the Felda subsidiary was listed on 2012.

According to the loan agreement, settlers have to pay RM50 a month for six years.

FGV shares at the time of listing were worth RM4.55 per share. The shares were last traded at RM1.72 when the market closed on Friday.

The RM15,000 windfall announced in 2013 came from about a third of the RM5.5 billion raised through the IPO exercise.

Najib’s magnanimity

Meanwhile, Umno Youth exco member Shahril Hamdan said the RM5,000 windfall is what is left over after the government takes over the replanting and FGV equity debts.

He said this neutralises are issues played up by the opposition.

“This is proof that the government never neglected Felda settlers even though they are the focus and political fodder of opposition politicians who are bankrupt of ideas,” he said in a statement.

He added the PM’s deadline to Felda dissidents to return to the fold or risk enjoying the incentives also shows Najib’s magnanimity.

“Even though 17,000 settlers misled by the opposition have refused to send their crop output to Felda and have filed lawsuits against Felda, Najib has not forgotten them and extended offers to these settlers so they will return to Felda’s fold and receive the incentives announced,” he said.

Najib said the dissidents have six months starting August to fulfil conditions set by Felda to be eligible for the incentive package.

He said that the total incentives were worth RM4.2 billion – double Felda’s annual expenditure in 2015.

He said there are 17,679 settlers who did not send their products to Felda and have sued Felda.

Settlers had taken legal action against Felda after alleging the factories had compensated them for less than what their palm oil crops are worth.

In 2010, the Federal Court sided with Felda Kamahang 3, Kelantan settlers who said they were cheated of payment for palm fruit from 1996 to 2002.

The court upheld a High Court decision to instruct Felda to pay RM11 million to the 354 settlers, after an eight-year court battle.

Other more recent lawsuits against Felda by other settlers making the similar claims, however, have not been successful.

Source : Malaysiakini


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