FGVH’s Mohd Isa under fire

By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN

A special report on issues surrounding Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGVH) has been completed and will be announced at the appropriate time, Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said.

Najib said in a Bernama report that former Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who was appointed as an independent counsel last week, had completed the report on FGVH.

“We are in the middle of studying all the facts and decisions, which should be made based on three principles — compliance with the Company Act, good governance and fair process,” Najib said in the report.

Idris was earlier appointed by the government as a special counsel to “establish the facts of the case” and “recommend the way forward” to settle counterclaims of graft and abuse between the FGVH board and CEO Datuk Zakaria Arshad.

Meanwhile, a group of second-generation Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) settlers have called for the removal of FGVH chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad following various allegations of misconduct during his tenureship.

The loose coalition urged Mohd Isa to step down as he was a “liability” and be replaced by Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, the chairman of Felda, which is the biggest shareholder of FGVH with a 33.7% stake.

“We urge Shahrir to be appointed as the new chairman of FGVH to safeguard the interests of Felda stakeholders and to restore confidence among investors.

“FGVH shares once stood at RM4.55 (upon listing). Today it is at RM1.73. We fear that it might fall further to 50 sen a share,” the group’s spokesperson Hamaruddin Abdul Aziz told reporters in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He added that Shahrir’s appointment as FGVH chairman would reduce discrepancies between Felda and its listed entity, while resolving the leadership crisis at the firm. “We have heard plenty of rumours but we cannot confirm any allegations of graft. We have to wait for MACC’s report on the matter,” Hamaruddin said.

Shahrir met the PM in Putrajaya to discuss ways forward for FGVH. Bernama previously reported Shahrir as saying that “anything is possible” to resolve the crisis at FGVH, including calling for Mohd Isa’s resignation.

The settler group — comprising of Felda representatives from Palong, Negri Sembilan, and Gedangsa and Soharto in Selangor — showed their support for Zakaria.

“We believe there is no reason for Zakaria to be put on leave. He has brought profit to the company and should remain as CEO,” Hamaruddin said.

This isn’t the first time Mohd Isa has been asked to step down. Last week, a similar ultimatum was voiced by National Felda Settlers’ Children Association (Anak).

Anak president Mazlan Aliman described the action taken against Zakaria as a mistake and called for the removal of Mohd Isa.

“What should be done is to get rid of Mohd Isa as FGVH chairman. That will calm the situation,” Mazlan was quoted as saying.

FGVH shares closed up one sen at RM1.74 yesterday, with 14.12 million shares traded.