What do Felda settlers now think of the IPO?

Khor Reports notes and comments: 

I’ve been getting ad hoc feedback from on-the-ground politicians, journalists and locals who have been visiting Felda settlements. There are consistent reports that the Felda settlers are expressing dissatisfaction with a) the RM15,000 bonus payout and b) the 800 shares for which they can subscribe in the Felda Global IPO;  they feel they ought to have gotten more. Also, there is a fundamental question about whether Felda should be about new settlers again.

The RM15,000 bonus is causing family squabbles?

The RM15,000 is paid out in three tranches. The first RM5,000 has been paid to the Felda settler - the male head of the household. Apparently, this has generated much friction and strife within the family. The children of these settlers fear that their RM5,000 portion may not be paid, therefore, they are asking their father to distribute to them from his share now. This is a lot of squabbling, as a Felda settler family may 5 or more children, and therefore 7 or more family members (excluding grand-children). This leaves little on a per head basis, if shared immediately. Moreover, we also hear stories that the male family head may have used up the money within a week - in settlement of outstanding debts (creditors were clamouring, knowing about the payout!) and/or in celebrations.

The second RM5,000 tranche to be paid to the wife on the 7th June, has created strife for those with more than one wife. The administration of PM Najib had to intervene on the matter, to say that the payment would be divided equally among all such claimants.

A date for the payment of the third tranche, due to the children of the Felda settler, has not yet been announced. This has caused some uncertainty, and suspicion that it is contingent on general election voting results.

Bottom line: The RM15,000 windfall seems to  insufficient for the Felda settler family size, and it has created unwanted and unforeseen family disputes.

An uneven and politicized share allocation?

The Felda settlers may be increasingly aware that so much more of the "IPO goodies" in terms of share allocation tranche, is widely thought to be directed mostly toward wealthy Bumiputeras, many of whom would be UMNO supporters. The "MITI investors" tranche is viewed by the market in this manner. 

     MITI investors (wealthy Malays likely to support UMNO??): 419.5 million shares
     Felda employees & persons who have contributed: 109.4 million shares
     Felda settlers: 91.2 million shares

New settlers?

Moreover, some Felda settlers suggest that the commercial plantation lands should be given out to new settlers instead of being leased out to Felda Global.

Ideally, an independent sample survey of Felda settler opinions should be conducted. The consistency of these ad hoc findings raises important questions on the likely outcomes of the Felda Global IPO-related bonuses to the Felda settler families. Will these bonuses backfire to some extent, strengthen support or gain more votes in Felda-related constituencies for the next Malaysia general election for the ruling UMNO/BN coalition?

Conclusion: It seems that the pre-electoral goodies offered by the administration of PM Najib to the Felda settlers, from the Felda Global IPO, might be going a bit "flat".