Group calls for revamp of Felda arm's board

A group of disgruntled second-generation Felda settlers has demanded a complete revamp of the board of directors in the land development agency's listed arm, which has lost over RM13 billion (S$4.1 billion) in shareholder value since its 2012 listing.

The demand came a day after Prime Minister Najib Razak unveiled RM1.6 billion in giveaways to Felda settlers, usually a solid vote bank for the ruling coalition.

"We are thankful of course for the incentives... but those aren't going to solve the core problems within Felda," Datuk Zulkefli Nordin, an adviser for the so- called Suara Generasi Ke-2 Felda (SGK2) group, said on Monday (July 25).

The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has been plagued by financial and management issues, and SGK2 on Monday alleged that problems at the listed arm, Felda Global Ventures (FGV), stemmed from interference by its board of directors.

"FGV's crisis began because of the chairman and the board," said Mr Zulkefli.

Over the weekend, Felda celebrated Settlers Day for its 112,635 settlers nationwide.

At the event, Datuk Seri Najib announced six incentives to lower debt and set up funds and grants for replanting, among other benefits.

This came amid ongoing investigations by the government's anti-corruption agency and FGV itself.

Last month, FGV's chief executive and several other high-ranking company officers were made to go on forced leave pending completion of the state-owned firm's internal probe.

"What needs to change is the entire FGV board, including the new acting chairman," said SGK2 spokesman Zainuddin Zainal, adding that this excluded the newly appointed Felda representatives to the FGV board.