Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Felda Rewards

Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH) trumpeted the second largest initial public offer (IPO) in the world this year (June 28, 2012, to be exact). This was done despite other big ticket listings falling victim to the global market turmoil – the Facebook IPO comes to mind. But FGVH detractors denounced this achievement and mocked its triumph. Even as critics clobbered it mercilessly, Najib Razak believed in it and he is touting it as a spectacular success! In the two months since listing, it had raised a total of RM10.5 billion and RM5.99 billion has been reserved for Felda’s account. This windfall is going to come in handy since the prime minister is going to use the money to bribe Felda settlers and their dependents! I mean, to buy their hearts and minds; no, no, no! I mean, to reward them.

Najib has given an advance of RM15,000 each to Felda family although according to blogger Mohd Ariff Sabri Abdul Aziz aka Sakmongkol AK47, the full payment hasn’t been given out yet. Najib has also doled out raya bonus amounting to nearly RM43 million – each family got around RM382. He also announced that Felda will pay for the settlers’ purchase of FGVH shares (RM360.7 million to finance in full the 800 units of shares allocated to each settler) as well as the PTPTN loans taken by the Felda children.

So Felda settlers should be in an enthusiastic state of euphoria! FGVH is indeed doing well!

Students of “strategy” can take note that I consider the Felda IPO as part of a “defensive strategy”. Don’t we know that Najib is hard-pressed to defend his electoral turf (and hopefully, even gain lost ground in GE13)? Even though Felda areas are very much staunchly pro-UMNO, having this listing and giving cash handouts to the settlers – even if these are just crumbs – would make them even more grateful to Najib and UMNO. The Felda vote-bank must be kept intact and Najib cannot afford to let the opposition chisel away at it and make breakthroughs. Najib knows that when GE13 comes, he must win at any cost!

Defence minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi scrambled to defuse an embarrassing situation when the Johore Sultan expressed his unhappiness that the military equipment supplied to the Special Forces Regiment was not only inadequate but were also of low quality and not in compliance with specifications (Webpage http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/difference-in-prices-of-rapid-intervention-vehicles-will-be-investigated-zahid-hamidi/, published September 10, 2012). He mouthed his gratitude to the Sultan and he promptly promised an investigation into the RIV price discrepancy, which is 4.6 times more – read my blogpost on Monday titled “Johore Sultan’s Royal Advice”.

The Johore Sultan was definitely on the ball!

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