Settlers not forced to buy FGVH shares, says Isa

By Clara Chooi
April 14, 2012

Explaining, FELDA chairman Tan Sri Isa Abdul Samad said that those interested would have the choice of applying for loans or using their own funds to subscribe to FGVH shares but would not be compelled to do so as claimed.

"It is never the government’s intention to force any settler to buy FGVH shares, as alleged by PKR," Isa (picture) said in a statement here.

He added that it was "quite normal" for firms to arrange for commercial loans to be made available to stakeholders who wish to purchase shares.

"If FELDA does the same, it will only be because we want to facilitate settlers’ participation in the expected benefits of FGVH’s planned listing," he pointed out.

PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar had warned yesterday that FELDA workers and settlers would be required to take loans from selected backs to purchase FGVH shares once it goes public some time next month.

Citing reliable sources, the Lembah Pantai MP had said that no "unimaginable windfall", as promised by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, could be expected by the group.

"Instead, PKR understands that FELDA settlers and workers would be required to take loans with several selected banks to purchase FGVH shares, even though some may have enough savings to purchase the IPO (Initial Public Offering) stocks.

"Although the loan margin is 100 per cent, the loan period is only for six months.

"This means they would have to repay the entire loan using their own savings when they receive their pink or blue forms, or use the proceeds from selling FGVH shares in the open market later to repay the loan before or when the six-month period is up," she had said.

In denying this today, Isa stuck to the prime minister's promise of windfall, saying it was a "deserved reward for the settlers' support, hard work and dedication" to FELDA's land development programme over the decades.

“The government has also repeatedly stated that the money to be utilised for the payout will be from FELDA’s own funds and not from Treasury.

"Despite these assurances, PKR have consistently attempted to politicise and confuse this issue. By doing so, they have demonstrated their willingness to trivialise the sacrifice shown by settlers," he said.

He added that the settlers should also be allowed to be a part of "a significant chapter in FELDA's history", referring to the proposed public listing.

"If commercial banks are involved, it will only be because they can provide a service to make this possible for stakeholders who require financial assistance to subscribe to the shares but, of course, those who wish to may purchase the shares using their own funds," he said.