By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The government’s priority is to find a resounding solution to put right the wrongs at FGV Holdings Bhd and Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).
Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said correcting the problems at the planter and state-owned agency goes beyond the nomination and selection of a new CEO, but a task that will require a comprehensive recovery plan.
Azmin, who has been entrusted to oversee the turnaround of the battered planter and cash-strapped Felda, also said he had not received the names of individuals who can lead FGV.
“It is not about whether I agree or not to the names, but we have to look at these agencies holistically because it needs a comprehensive recovery plan.
“I don’t know when they (FGV) are going to submit the proposal, but if they send in the names, I will look at it. For now, the priority of the ministry is to look at the whole role of Felda and FGV,” he said after the official opening of American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce’s (Amcham) new executive office in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
FGV, a government-linked company, has been without a CEO for nearly four months with its chairman Datuk Wira Azhar Abdul Hamid appointed as the interim head since the end of October 2018.
The Malaysian Reserve yesterday reported that FGV is close to appointing a new CEO with the candidate to be announced as early as next week, quoting sources familiar with the matter. The report also said several names had been submitted to the Economic Affairs Ministry for consideration. But the proposed internal candidates had been rejected by the ministry, heightening the prospects that an external candidate could be appointed to lead FGV.
Azmin said the problems at FGV extend beyond the appointment of a new CEO. “Felda lost 400,000ha of land when they surrendered the parcels for FGV to raise its initial public offering.
“The appointment of a new CEO alone will not solve the problem. We want to look at the entire recovery play of Felda and FGV,” he said.
A white paper on Felda is expected to be tabled at the next parliamentary seating in March.
Failures at FGV and Felda would have a huge impact on some 200,000 settler families and the country’s palm oil industry.
FGV posted an almost RM850 million loss in July-September 2018.
It is also embroiled in what is expected to be lengthy and complicated civil proceedings filed against former directors and management staff to recover millions of losses from alleged questionable deals.