Felda smallholders: Windfall for rubber smallholders - Malaysia. Felda-Eagle High Plantations deal and Felda housing project in the news

LMC report on about Felda smallholders, download here http://www.carbonstockstudy.com/resource-centre/reports "Consulting Report 12 – The Felda case study"

Key writers are Khor Yu Leng, Dr. Johan Saravanamuttu and Deborah Augustin. We also had a good session with Colin Barlow at his seminar talk on Felda last week, with photo below.

Seminar on Felda by Dr. Colin Barlow at IKMAS, UKM, Bangi 16 April 2015. About Dr Barlow: https://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/barlow-c; and remarkably, his NGO is helping 12,000 smallholders in eastern Indonesia - East Nusa Tenggara. I am sure he'll have a lot of practical implementation knowledge that he could share with the palm oil sector seemingly struggling with smallholder projects. He mentioned cocoa smallholders working with a US chocolate manufacturer.

A teaser, on Felda settler income outcomes (LMC - Khor, Saravanamuttu & Augustin, upcoming 2015): "Based on all Felda schemes, incoming settlers data shows that 40.1% had an income of RM100  or less, and 85.4% of settlers had an income of less than RM200. Only 9.8% of settlers had an income of more than RM200; from this percentage only 7.8% had an income between RM200-RM300 a month while only 0.2% had an income of RM500 or more a month. Overall, most Felda settlers had low income rather than no income prior to entering the Felda schemes (Bahrin, Perera & Lim, 1979, p. 203). The Felda project was specifically designed to initially target RM300 minimum monthly income. National settler net monthly income outcomes from oil palm plots (1979-2005 average): 4.1 ha, RM857; 4.9ha, RM905 and 5.7 ha, RM1,166 (which excludes labour cost; Bahrin and Lee, 2006, p.37); and an estimated RM 1,800 per month in 2014 from 4 ha oil palm entirely outsourced to Felda Technoplant i.e. including labour cost (Barlow, 2015a). Thus, delivering solid outcomes on primary income goals."

12 Feb 2017: Felda news items

New Felda chief targets turnaround in one year  FEB 8, 2017 - Five men, including two former senior officials of Felda, being remanded on Jan 25 to help with investigations into a caviar farm project in Pahang http://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/new-felda-chief-targets-turnaround-in-one-year

Now Shahrir says Felda didn't lose RM4.3b as reported  Published Today 7:38 pm -- "No money is lost. From the RM6 billion received when Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd was listed, we spent RM1.7 billion for Felda settlers to pay each family RM15,000.... ............ "The balance of RM4.3 billion was used for various reasons. Felda made one-off payments to the governments of Sabah (RM300 million), Pahang RM250 million, housing loan for Felda settlers RM400 million, management expenses RM883 million plus investments in property, both here and foreign countries, to buy shares and many others," he said. Shahrir was commenting on reports in a number of news portals that claimed RM6 billion received by Felda after the FGVH listing has not been accounted for. ........ He said RM1.438 billion was invested in property, namely in Bukit Katil, Malacca for RM304 million, Grand Borneo Hotel in Sabah (RM86 million), Grand Plaza Service Apartment in London (RM500 million), Institut Penilaian Negara (INSPEN) building (RM225 million) and Iris Corporation Berhad shares (RM110 million). Shahrir said the RM1.438 billion invested in the service sector, especially property involving hotels, was to ensure long-term investments that can be beneficial in the future. .... He said Felda had also purchased Felda Technoplant Sdn Bhd worth RM38 million while total accumulated loses for Felda amounted to RM108 million, involving the Transnovasi Project.....  Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/372216#ixzz4YTJd9nqv

Jadi RM4.3 bilion ini mana pergi? tanya Shahrir MOHD FIRDAUS YON 11 FEBRUARI 2017 http://www.sinarharian.com.my/nasional/jadi-rm4-3-bilion-ini-mana-pergi-tanya-shahrir-1.626497

Felda chairman: Where did RM4.3b from listing go? http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/felda-chairman-where-did-rm4.3b-from-listing-go

Felda's delayed 2015 financial statement to be announced soon BY RIZALMAN HAMMIM - 11 FEBRUARY 2017  http://www.nst.com.my/news/2017/02/211354/feldas-delayed-2015-financial-statement-be-announced-soon

Shahrir questions where RM4.3b from FGV had gone - Newly-minted Felda chairperson Shahrir Abdul Samad has questioned how RM4.3 billion in proceeds from Felda Global Ventures’ initial public offering (IPO) had been spent. “Felda received RM6 billion from the listing of FGV... From this amount RM1.7 billion was spent as windfall (for settlers). Read more: https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/372146#ixzz4YSrTTmzL

PKR: Shahrir's RM4.3b revelation underscores need for RCI Today 5:37 pm https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/372202#ixzz4YSs0whfF

26 Jan 2017: Windfall for rubber smallholders - Malaysia

Editor's note: Earlier this month, I was sitting next to Dr Chee, renowned rubber expert and we were chatting about smallholders, and he said that rubber smallholders were doing well, and earning more than their palm smallholder brethren.

Windfall for rubber smallholders BY RUBEN SARIO 23 January 2017 -- A hike in raw rubber prices has led to a windfall for smallholders in the state, some of whom have seen their monthly income increasing by as much as RM7,000. State Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry Datuk Seri Yahya Hussin said he was happy for the rubber smallholders. Yahya said the international price of Standard Malaysian Rubber 20 (SMR 20) had doubled from its low of RM4.70 per kg in early last year to current prices of RM9.68. He said the increase was due to a shortage in supply in the world market in the wake of flooding in southern Thailand. Yahya said the smallholder rubber prices in Sabah had increased from a low of RM1.50 per kilogram for cuplumps at 50% dry rubber content to a high of RM3.75 per kilogramme. “The increase has resulted in rubber smallholders earning between RM2,500 per month to RM7,000 per month. Read more at http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/community/2017/01/23/windfall-for-rubber-smallholders-they-are-now-earning-more-after-prices-for-raw-material-increases/#th18X5zYoD5lfoSt.99

14 Jan 2017: Felda-Eagle High Plantations deal and Felda housing project in the news

Editor's note: Interesting question if China is funding the Felda housing project via a small Singapore trading outfit.

4 Jan 2017, 31 Dec 2016: Felda-Eagle High Plantations deal in the news -- see here, http://khorreports-palmoil.blogspot.my/2015/04/corporate-news-indomie-morocco-delta.html

FELDA tangani isu PFI Oleh Ahmad Suhael Adnan 12 JANUARI 2017 http://www.bharian.com.my/node/233715

Construction of Felda housing project to begin soon, September 06, 2016 -- The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) plans to start the construction of single-storey terrace houses under the Felda New Generation Housing programme in one or two months, chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad said. He said under the programme undertaken nationwide, 11,530 residential units were scheduled to be built with a gross development value of RM1 billion, but experienced a delay in commencement due to a financing mechanism problem. "However, the issue was resolved as we opted for a private funding initiative via Putra Star Investment Holdings Pte Ltd. "We have appointed Terranova Builders Sdn Bhd as the housing developer," Mohd Isa told a press conference after the signing of an agreement between Putra Star, Terranova and Perumahan Felda Sdn Bhd  to facilitate the construction here today...

Felda Guna Putra Star Investment Kutip Dana Dari China? Soal Rafizi Published on 11 Jan 2017 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mONbfWByImg

Tell us the names of your housing contractors, Rafizi urges Felda By Chester Tay | January 3, 2017 -- On Dec 2, 2015, Rafizi requested a detailed disclosure of all contractors involved in Felda’s member housing projects, and deputy minister in Prime Minister Department Datuk Razali Ibrahim merely disclosed information regarding projects that have been completed. “For projects like the PGBF (Perumahan Generasi Baharu Felda), which have not been completed, he (Razali) did not provide the contractors’ name,” Rafizi said. According to Felda’s FY2014 financial statement, expected losses for Felda member housing projects skyrocketed to RM192.82 million, from just RM28.46 million in FY2013. “We have also contacted nationwide Felda activists to show us how many Felda housing projects have been abandoned, with nothing more than just a signage left behind,” he added. — theedgemarkets.com http://www.theedgeproperty.com.my/taxonomy/term/987/all

Rafizi Ramli was live. January 12 at 1:27pm · "Siapa di belakang syarikat Putra Star Investments ini?" https://www.facebook.com/rafiziramli.keadilan/videos/vb.145165568851292/1385327438168426/?type=2&theater

30 July 2016: Najib points to social mobility of Felda settlers' children, Crown Prince of Johor comment,  Felda investment unit, Rajawali likely to ink stake deal soon

PM: Children of Felda settlers in Klang Valley proof of social mobility BY KAMLES KUMAR  http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/pm-children-of-felda-settlers-in-klang-valley-proof-of-social-mobility#sthash.zURXzuo1.dpuf

Felda taking money from the poor, alleges TMJ 28 Jul 2016 -- The Crown Prince of Johor, Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, better known as TMJ for the Malay acronym of his royal title, has accused the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) of taking money meant for the people to enrich contractors and high ranking company officials.... https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/350170

Minister rebuts TMJ, says Felda must generate own income Published 28 Jul 2016 -- The government today denied allegations by Johor Crown Prince Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim that the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) has deviated from its original purpose of eradicating poverty. Rural and Regional Development Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob told reporters in Putrajaya that Felda was encouraged to generate its own income and be more financially independent.  “Felda has never deviated from its original path. Felda, from the beginning, has been restructuring the community (by) providing land for Malays who had no land to boost their income, and others. “When Felda engages in business, it does not mean that it is deviating from the original path. Felda, once upon a time, when it was formed, received a lot of financial assistance and support from the government,” said Ismail, as quoted by online portal Free Malaysia Today. https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/350237

Felda investment unit, Rajawali likely to ink stake deal soon BY AFIQ ISAandIZWAN IDRIS 28 July 2016 -- PETALING JAYA: An investment unit of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) may sign an agreement for the acquisition of a significant stake in Indonesian planter Eagle High Plantations Tbk. According to sources, representatives from the Rajawali Group and Felda may be meeting in Jakarta next week for a signing ceremony to conclude the deal, which has been over a year in the making and has undergone several iterations. ...http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2016/07/28/eagle-high-deal-at-final-stage-of-conclusion/

Stock With Momentum: Felda Global Ventures Holdings By Asia Analytica / The Edge Financial Daily   | July 26, 2016 http://www.theedgemarkets.com/my/article/stock-momentum-felda-global-ventures-holdings

25 July 2016: Agenda to develop Felda, nation remains as govt’s top priority, Najib says 

Agenda to develop Felda, nation remains as govt’s top priority, Najib says - See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/agenda-to-develop-felda-nation-remains-as-govts-top-priority-says-najib#sthash.UBEqOBQT.dpuf

17 July 2016: Felda warns settlers against getting involved with IS

Felda warns settlers against getting involved with IS  Bernama     10 Jul 2016  The Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will take stern action against its settlers or family members if they are found to be involved with the Islamic State (IS) militant group. Its chairperson, Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, said actions that would be taken were in line with the existing laws in the country, as well as Felda's laws.  "For instance, if those involved (with IS militants) are from (Felda's) second generation and have applied to buy houses we built for them, we will reject. Any other actions will be reviewed from time to time. "Even so, I believe the police and army are more capable in identifying those involved or supporting the activities of this militant group. We, however, are looking at the issue seriously," he told reporters at his Aildilfitri open house in Port Dickson today. https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/348091

10 July 2016: Support govt for your future, Azalina reminds Felda settlers; Najib - Felda as a powerhouse for another 100 years or more 

Support govt for your future, Azalina reminds Felda settlers July 4, 2016 -- She says Felda may be one of the first organisations the Opposition will possibly shut if it takes over the government. http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2016/07/04/support-govt-for-your-future-azalina-reminds-felda-settlers/

Najib wants Felda to be economic powerhouse  March 15, 2016 -- KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said yesterday he wanted Felda to become an economic powerhouse that will continue to champion the plight of settlers into the next generation. He said the desire of the government in setting up Felda was to not only champion the plight of the first-generation settlers but also the second and third generation and for another 100 years or more.  “It is for this reason that we developed Felda, we established FGV (Felda Global Ventures Holdings Berhad), we have taken all kinds of measures to make Felda an economic powerhouse,” he said. Najib spoke at the launch of the Kami Anak Felda (KAF) organisation, the Kesejahteraan Adiwangsa Felda book, the Wada-Kemboja humanitarian mission fund and the Prihatin Jantung Anda programme, here. He said that the government wanted Felda, besides becoming an economic power house, to also become a political power house to ensure the continuity of Felda. Read more: http://www.theborneopost.com/2016/03/15/najib-wants-felda-to-be-economic-powerhouse/#ixzz4DyxVwBhq

25 June 2016: RM50 million Eid festival bonus for Felda settlers excludes 13,589 who do not sell their FFB to Felda

Najib announces ‘duit raya’ of RM49.52m for Felda settlers Bernama      22 Jun 2016 https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/346242

PAS cries foul as over 13,000 Felda settlers denied 'duit raya' 23 Jun 2016 -- PAS has criticised the government for denying Hari Raya incentives to 13,589 Felda settlers. This was after Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak yesterday announced RM49.52 million "duit raya" to 99,046 Felda settlers. The remaining settlers did not qualify for the payout as they sell their produce to third parties instead of Felda. PAS Felda affairs chief Naraza Muda said the government should not be punishing Felda settlers who choose to be independent.... https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/346401

Malaysia Paddy Fields Are Najib’s Battlefield to Woo Voters by Shamim Adam June 20, 2016 http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-19/malaysia-paddy-fields-become-battlefield-for-najib-to-woo-voters

Meeting K Kangsar folk’s needs is Mastura’s priority Bernama     23 Jun 2016 -- The mother of four is the widow of the previous Kuala Kangsar MP, Wan Mohammad Khair-il Annuar Wan Ahmad who died in a helicopter crash with five others in Sebuyau, Sarawak on May 5. Mastura has a list of things on her agenda, including visiting the site for the building of the Malaysian Palm Oil Board’s (MPOB) training centre, which had been promised by her late husband who was the MPOB chairperson. On her status of still being in the ‘edah’ period, Mastura said she had asked for views and guidelines from Perak mufti Harussani Zakaria in carrying out her tasks. “According to the mufti, If I am required to serve (the people), I am allowed to go out but certain things like celebrating the win is not permitted,” she said.... https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/346328

13 December 2015: How Felda mobilised 10,000 for ‘red shirt’ rally

How Felda mobilised 10,000 for ‘red shirt’ rally 11 Nov 2015  The total number of Felda settlers who joined the rally was estimated to be 10,000, according to the parliamentary reply, she said. This means that about 10,000 Felda settlers joined the red shirt rally, she surmised. Many of the settlers were transported to Kuala Lumpur in buses. About RM1mil spent ... government-backed Village Development and Security Committee (JKKR) and the Coalition of Women's Movement (GPW) for giving RM925,000 to fund the ‘Felda rally’. https://www.malaysiakini.com/news/319014

8 June 2015: Could segregated palm oil exclude small producers, Felda subsidises 30% of settler children student loans

FGV, Felda Group pullout from RSPO certs 'done in settlers' best interest' BY OOI TEE CHING - 9 MAY 2016 Read More : http://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/05/144685/fgv-felda-group-pullout-rspo-certs-done-settlers-best-interest

Could Europe’s drive to segregated palm oil exclude small producers? By Caroline Scott-Thomas+, 02-Jun-2015 A European push toward segregated certified sustainable palm oil may inadvertently exclude smaller producers from the supply chain, says GreenPalm manager Bob Norman. http://www.foodnavigator.com/Policy/Could-Europe-s-drive-to-segregated-palm-oil-exclude-small-producers

Felda subsidises 30% of PTPTN loans taken by its settlers' children Last updated on 27 May 2015 - 08:35pm Shahrim Tamrin KUALA LUMPUR: Felda is subsidising 30% of the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN) study loan taken by its settlers’ children for their diploma and bachelor degree studies at higher education institutions. Its director-general Datuk Hanapi Suhad said last year they channelled RM16 million for 1,825 students who are the sons and daughters of Felda settlers.
He also said Felda had provided RM200 million for various technical and human capital training schemes in public and private higher education institutions for 42,059 students from 2005 to 2010.
He earlier attended a signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding with PTPTN in Menara Felda here today. PTPTN chairman Datuk Shamsul Anuar Nasarah praised Felda’s move, describing the initiative as part of the National Blue Ocean Strategy.

5 May 2015: Rompin retained by BN but with majority halved, summary of campaign

BN retains Rompin, majority reduced by almost half Published: 5 May 2015 8:52 PM ; Hasan Arifin, Barisan Nasional's candidate in the Rompin by-election looks set to win the parliamentary seat, which was previously held by the late Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 5, 2015.Hasan Arifin, Barisan Nasional's candidate in the Rompin by-election looks set to win the parliamentary seat, which was previously held by the late Tan Sri Jamaluddin Jarjis. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Najjua Zulkefli, May 5, 2015.Barisan Nasional (BN) today comfortably retained the Rompin parliamentary seat in the by-election for the Pahang southeastern constituency, albeit with a much lower majority. BN’s Datuk Hasan Arifin defeated PAS’s Nazri Ahmad with a majority of 8,895, according to the Election Commission (EC) announced at 10.23pm. Hasan obtained 23,796 votes while Nazri obtained 14,901, in a by-election that saw a 73% turnout when polls closed at 5pm earlier today. There were 501 spoilt votes. In 2013, the late Tan Sri Jalamudin Jarjis won the seat with a 15,114 majority in another straight fight against PAS’s Nuridah Mohd Salleh. 85.5% of the 53,596 registered voters in the constituency turned out for the 2013 elections.

Live updates: Rompin by-election polling day; Reporting by Ahmad Fazlan, Zaini Hardy, Nawar Firdaws, Ahmed Syahril, Zalikha Ameera, and Arif Kartono; ROMPIN, May 5, 2015: 6pm. Voter turnout for the Rompin by-election after polls were closed is at 73 per cent of the 52,744 registered voters, 7 percent below the EC’s target........ http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2015/05/05/live-updates-rompin-by-election-polling-day/

Is PAS candidate a threat to BN's hold on Rompin? 2015-05-05 11:12  ROMPIN, May 4 (Bernama) -- After 13 days of campaigning for the Rompin parliamentary seat by-election since the nomination of candidates on April 22, the 53,294 voters will decide tomorrow as to who will represent them.
Is the PAS candidate, Nazri Ahmad, the son of a Felda Keratong 5 settler, near here, and Pahang PAS Youth chief who has been stressing on him wanting to carry the voice of the young generation who make up over 40 per cent of voters in the area, capable of being a threat to this Barisan Nasional (BN) stronghold. BN is fielding Datuk Hasan Arifin who has lots of experience in politics and the state's administration. Political observer Prof Datuk Abdul Halim Sidek opined that both candidates had their own strengths, hence creating a stiff contest for the seat. .......Since the campaign started, PAS has been focusing on two main issues - the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Felda, especially the housing problem faced by the second generation Felda settlers, considering that voters in close to 20 Felda land schemes in the Rompin constituency form 51.51 per cent of eligible voters in the area.
In fact, the two-day gathering of Felda settlers at Felda Keratong 4 previously touched on the GST while yesterday there was a talk on GST in Bandar Muadzam Shah. BN was not to be let down, instead it aggressively countered all of PAS' claims and resolved to solve the house price issue faced by the second generation Felda settlers by reducing the price from RM125,000 to RM90,000 per unit and to introduce the rent-purchase concept. Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) lecturer, Prof Dr Ahmad Atory Hussain sees BN as having a very good chance of winning the by-election based on the candidate factor in terms of experience in politics and administration. Hasan was Pahang menteri besar from 1995 to 1999 and a former assemblyman for Tioman and Bukit Ibam in the Rompin parliamentary constituency, for four terms from 1990. ........Since nomination day, Hasan has been focusing on local issues, especially those faced by the young generation including the housing problem of the second generation Felda settlers, his intention to assist young people through high-impact fishery activities, and to boost tourism and modern agriculture which could give them lucrative returns. His appeal for the prime minister to review the house price for the second generation Felda settlers in Rompin due to their financial constraints bore fruit when last Saturday, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced a reduction in the original price offered from RM125,000 to RM90,000........ http://www.mysinchew.com/node/108578

4 May 2015: Q&A on new 20,000 Felda homes policy and Felda second generation income questions; Rompin parliament constituency has 53,596 voters, with 87% comprising Malays living in 14 Felda settlements, Rompin by-election by Bridget Welsh

Question:  Can you give me an idea of the typical monthly income of a Felda settler? I am trying to judge the adequacy of the housing carrot being dangled for Rompin.
Answer: RM 1.4 billion appears to have been set in 2013 for 20,000 new homes for second gen @RM70k each? However, news articles report RM90,000 per home (reduced from RM124,000). How much is subsidy portion versus loan portion for the new home? What is extra or specific to Rompin? We looked at Felda settler issues and the most recent data on settler income was from Jengka by Colin Barlow; he found RM1,800/month from FFB from 4 hectare plot and possibly another RM600/month from other sources for 2014. So, if it's say RM24,000 per year of net income; a RM70,000 home is about 3x. What's the second generation income level? Aside from those urban dwelling, are all second generation of higher income than parents (Felda settlers) or are there some in the rural areas with lower income? Certainly, the education attainment were mostly higher than parents (who were selected from the poorer and/or landless segment who on average had income below RM200/month before joining Felda as settler, data as of 1979). Is the new Felda home policy focussed on second generation still residing in Felda areas in overcrowded settler homes? Note that 20,000 homes represent about 3.5pct of the second generation of 4.8 kids per settler.
PS. Look out for a piece by Bridget Welsh on Rompin soon.

Question: If the Felda second generation are working in agriculture then income should be comparable to first generation? Unless, they are merely resident in Felda areas and working elsewhere. In any case, it's interesting to learn that at RM2,500/month such Felda settlers are well above the median wage level.
Answer: We need the household survey to know how many person in one house - what ratio under and over peopled? But the new house numbers are relatively small at 3.5pct of second generation for the new homes; so is this a targeted policy for a small segment of second generation still rural residing and facing issues? Or is it case that the Felda settler transfer of ownership to one of 4.8 kids is really quite smooth, as most all are in the urban setting and not needing a rural home and income ? i.e. the Felda settler passes on rural nest egg to urban kids.

Abandoned by allies, PAS’s Rompin campaign a dull affair BY MOHD FARHAN DARWIS Published: 4 May 2015 2:48 PM; The lacklustre campaigning suggests that PAS has lost its mojo without DAP and PKR by its side. The latter are busy in the Permatang Pauh by-election campaign, which PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is contesting. However, Temerloh MP Nasruddin Hassan played down the matter and insisted all was well on the campaign front. “About 70% of the (Rompin) voters come from Felda settlements. So we are concentrating on those areas,” he told The Malaysian Insider when met at the Hindar 2.0 ceramah yesterday....The Rompin parliament constituency has 53,596 voters, with 87% comprising Malays living in 14 Felda settlements. The second biggest voters are the Orang Asli, followed by 9% Indians and just 2% Chinese. Tuan Ibrahim told The Malaysian Insider that PAS did not employ a general campaign strategy, and instead relied on different approaches for each area, based on the economic activities of the voters. “Our approach is not the same in each area. Our focus is on Felda settlements, so we have to deal with agencies. The mechanism is rather different. “We approach the farmers and the fishermen of Rompin differently. We visit the voters’ homes and employ a welfare approach,” said Tuan Ibrahim. Political analyst Professor Dr Mohamad Agus Yusoff said the factors working against PAS were the fact that it was on its own in the by-election, and that Rompin was an Umno stronghold.....He said the silent voters, who compromise the youth working in the cities, could turn PAS’s fortune around. “There are second- and third-generation Felda settlers who have different views from their parents,” said Agus. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak appears to be aware of this, and took the opportunity to win the vote bank over by reducing the price of houses from RM124,000 to RM90,000 per unit. However, Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has denied that Najib was using the house prices as election goodies, and said that the latter’s announcement was merely a “coincidence”. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/abandoned-by-allies-pass-rompin-campaign-a-dull-affair#sthash.tHeHOEg8.dpuf

Pmtg Pauh, Rompin - markers of political future By Bridget Welsh  8:11AM May 4, 2015; Rompin has not received the same level of attention as Permatang Pauh, at least in the English language media, but it is equally important. At issue is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak's political future.
...  Today's reality is that there is open opposition to Najib's leadership within Umno led by former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad and nationally, as the premier has the lowest public support in his tenure. It is thus not surprising that the stakes are high in Rompin, for a reduction in support in Rompin will signal trouble to Najib's political future....... Unlike Permatang Pauh, where a reduction in the majority is expected, given Najib's position and resources, even a small decline in support will be perceived negatively.... From goodies to grumbles -  By-elections have traditionally been 'buy-elections', with goodies galore. The BN, with its hand on the national till and control over the mainstream media, has always had the advantage, especially in the more semi-rural and rural areas. Given the stakes in these contests, there are many items on offer, with even the Penang government making promises of new projects. It remains to be seen how impactful the use of financial incentives will be this time round. One item that is marginally different than GE 2013, and reminiscent of conditions surrounding GE 2008, is a perceived decline in the economy. Ordinary Malaysians are feeling the economic pain, compared with the past, with a depreciated ringgit, the goods and services tax (GST), inflation and lower purchasing power...... Even in the Felda areas of Rompin, where the drop in the prices of rubber and palm oil has hit hard, there is a sense of relative economic deprivation. More than any issue - rights, religion or race - the main driver in voting in Malaysia is the economy, as surveys consistently show that the main issues that concern voters are the bread-and-butter realities..... As the campaigns come to a close, the promises of allocations have risen, with less open defence of the GST and more attention to where GST funds will go - be it towards civil servants, higher pensions and more........The expectation for both contests is reduced majorities. The main reasons for this is the expected lower turnout, with voting coming after a long holiday weekend, the negative mode of the campaigns, active sabotage and weakened support for both sides....

1 May 2015: Sarawak smallholder issues, PAS woo Felda settlers and youths, the question of FGV's low share price,

Masing: Stricter enforcement needed to stop FFB thefts posted on April 30, 2015, Thursday
“In July 2014, a joint operation known as ‘Ops Sawit Kenyalang’ was conducted by agencies such as Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), Immigration Department, the police,, Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, State Security Unit, and State Attorney General Chambers. “MPOB has also frozen the issuance of new FFB dealers’ licence. A quota of two metric tonne per hectare per month had also been imposed to limit the sale of FFB by each smallholder. “This is to prevent smallholders from selling excessive volume of FFB, which may have been stolen from affected plantations. In addition, palm oil mills and FFB dealers are required to submit monthly the list of their FFB sellers to MPOB for monitoring purposes.” Meanwhile, to a point raised by Opar assemblyman Ranum Mina, Masing said as of March 31, 2015, of the 23 investors approved to develop NCR land in the state, 21 of them had successfully develop underutilised NCR lands owned by rural folk. “These investors have established 30 joint-venture companies (JVCs) with the NCR landowners in 33 projects. So far, 77,176 hectares have been fully planted with oil palm under these JVCs. “Up to March 31, 2015, RM 160.1 million has been paid by JVCs to the participating NCR landowners.” Touching on a request by Engkilili assemblyman Johnichal Rayong Ngipa that the outstanding loans of the settlers in Skrang Settlement Scheme be written off and land titles issued to them, Masing said 798 out of the 1,363 settlers in the seven Settlement Schemes in the state had fully settled their loans...........  http://www.theborneopost.com/2015/04/30/masing-stricter-enforcement-needed-to-stop-ffb-thefts/#ixzz3YtqS0fZu

The Iban longhouse that stood up to BN and prospered BY SHERIDAN MAHAVERA Published: 4 May 2015 11:00 AM; Starting in the state 2006 election, the longhouse voted for the opposition Sarawak National Action Party. They voted for PKR in the 2011 state election, and in the 2008 and 2013 general elections. But retribution was swift, said the 50-year-old Adam. "Our names would be blacklisted at the district office when we went to ask for fertiliser and seeds. "Sarawak BN leaders would go around and tell other longhouses, 'Don't be like Pelepok, which voted for the opposition and now has to suffer'.” The brothers helped set up other families in the longhouse with their own pepper or oil palm orchards, lending them seeds and fertiliser....Off-road pick-up trucks and motorcycles zip down the lane in front of the longhouse as residents haul the pepper harvest to Betong town. In 2009, the brothers collected RM80,000 to hire contractors to build their own road to connect the village to the outside world instead of waiting for the government. "The road really helped boost our economy," said the middle child, Angut, adding that it allowed farmers to bring their harvests to the Betong market faster. Although it is a rutted, pock-marked dirt road that is only accessible by a four-wheeled drive vehicle, it is better than having to trek five hours through steep hills and jungle to reach Betong. A bunch of villagers using their own money to build their own road is almost unheard of in villages across Malaysia, where rural folks are accustomed to depending on the government for such facilities. In Sarawak, it is almost legendary....When the Sarawak government heard that Pelepok was building a small dam in early 2014 to install a mini-hydro system which would give them free electricity, electrical poles went up a month later, from the main road to their longhouse, said Adam. The poles and cables were put up by Sarawak Energy but electricity has yet to be connected. “They said we would get electricity by the end of 2014. But there has been nothing until now,” said Adam. The electricity poles, he claims, were a ploy to get the longhouse to abandon the mini-hydro project and to get votes. It is widely known that many communities in the Sarawak and Sabah interior have neither roads nor running water or electricity. PR claims that Sarawak BN politicians often withhold these basic services in order to win votes. Once the mini-hydro system is complete, Pelepok folk would get uninterrupted electricity without having to wait for the state government. Each family in the longhouse currently forks out about between RM150 and RM200 a month for their diesel generators. Like the road, Pelepok’s own supply of cheap electricity would break the notion that an indigenous tribe's success was dependent on their continued support for the government, said Vernon Aji Kedit, who is Sarawak PKR information chief. The mini-hydro project is being funded by non-governmental organisation Light Up Borneo, which also designed and paid for the system’s components. Sarawak PKR rounded up volunteers to help the longhouse folk install the system - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/the-iban-longhouse-that-stood-up-to-bn-and-prospered#sthash.E3vqib7I.dpuf

PAS out to gain support from Felda settlers in Rompin 2015-04-25 10:45  ROMPIN, April 24 (Bernama) -- PAS is going all out to woo Felda settlers in the Rompin Parliament by-election, including organising a two-day gathering, to entice settlers in Felda Keratong 4, starting tomorrow.
PAS Vice President Datuk Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man did not deny that the voters from the 14 Felda settlements in Rompin Parliament which constitute 51.51 percent from 53,294 total voters in the area, was the main focus of the party in the by-election. The gathering which will be kicked off by PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will include Felda settlers with programmes ranging from dialogue with settlers to traditional sports and trade exposition, he said at the party's daily press conference here today. Tuan Ibrahim said the party was also focusing on gaining support from fishermen in Tioman which include Pulau Tioman, and also the Orang Asli community in the Bukit Ibam state seat. Besides current issues like Goods and Service Tax (GST), the party will be playing up issues on mining activities in Bukit Ibam and the development of new townships in Rompin, he said. Touching on the lack of the party posters in the current by-election, he said PAS was now concentrating on the new social media which he believes will reach a bigger audience, besides concentrating on face to face campaigning. He said the party has brought in 5,000 campaign workers to garner support for party candidate Nazri Ahmad.......... http://www.mysinchew.com/node/108315

ROMPIN HEATS UP: Political flags burned at Felda settlement - Bernama Saturday, 25 April 2015 07:05; ROMPIN - The police are investigating two incidents involving the burning of political flags at Felda Selancar 2 here yesterday. Head of the Police Media Centre for the Rompin by-election, Supt Abdul Aziz Mahmud said the two cases were being investigated for mischief and damage. Upon conviction, offenders are liable to be jailed a maximum of two years or fined, or both......... http://www.malaysia-chronicle.com/index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=500341:rompin-heats-up-political-flags-burned-at-felda-settlement&Itemid=2#ixzz3YtGT93eF

Over 300 Felda settlers join PAS in Rompin by-election campaign ROMPIN, April 28, 2015:
Although Felda has been considered a votebank for Umno, PAS says it is gaining support among the settlers in Rompin. — TRP pic by Mokhsin Zamani; PAS’ Standing Committee of Environmental Management chairman Andansura Rabu said a total of 305 Felda settlers have joined PAS for the Rompin by-election. “Last night we received more applications from 100 Felda youths who are the second generation of the government agency.” The Beserah state assemblyman said the settlers joined the party following the recent “Perhimpunan Selamatkan Felda 2.0″ held in Keratong.
“This shows that the reception towards PAS is positive and this is encouraging.” PAS is slowly making headway in the settlements by raising issues concerning Felda Global Ventures Sdn Bhd. Banking on Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad’s 2011 appointment prior to the plunging of the government agency’s shares, Andansura said more settlers were becoming brave. “It is positive to see that many of the younger generation are showing their courage by coming out in the open to support us. “We hope many others will do so in the future.” When probed whether more would be joining the Islamic party in the coming days, Andansura said the number was going to get bigger. “We believe more will be joining PAS in the next few days.” ............ http://www.therakyatpost.com/news/2015/04/28/over-300-felda-settlers-join-pas-in-rompin-by-election-campaign/

Felda settlers facing housing, financial woes; ROMPIN, April 26, 2015: Besides the recent plunge in Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV) shares, other issues are also plaguing Felda settlers specifically in Rompin. Speaking to The Rakyat Post, second generation Felda settler Zailan Yusof claimed settlers were currently faced with a string of woes especially the issue of affordable housing.
“In Keratong 4, there are some 400 families. “To us second generation settlers, the houses are not enough.” He alleged that affordable houses were given away to non-settlers and this he claimed had become a bane for them. The 45-year-old teacher, who was born in Keratong 4, called for transparency on the part of FGV and the Pahang state government. “There are cases where one non-settler gets about two to three houses. This in unfair,” he claimed. Persatuan Anak Anak Felda Kebangsaan information chief Naraza Muda alleged that many first generation settlers were beleaguered with debts, some reaching up to RM150,000. “The current value of their properties has not been disclosed but they have run up huge debts,” he said, speaking to a 1,000 strong crowd who turned up for the Islamic party’s ‘Selamatkan Felda 2.0′ (Save Felda 2.0) gathering yesterday in Keratong 4. In Rompin, Naraza said Felda settlers were facing sosio-economic issues as well, leading the NGO to conduct regular dialogue sessions to bring awareness to residents here.........

Felda shares will bounce back, analysts assure settlers – Bernama Published: 29 April 2015 3:08 PM; Settlers who owned shares in Felda Global Ventures Holding Berhad (FGV) need not worry about its price as it has potential to grow in future, said market analysts. Stock analyst, Nazarry Rosli, said FGV share price is in line with the palm oil market which is experiencing a fall in price but the situation is not worrying. "At the moment, not only is FGV counter trading at a low level but the trend affects all palm oil linked counters as a result of the low palm oil price..... "Nonetheless, the situation is not long term as the world palm oil market is expected to stabilise soon," he told Bernama today. He denied allegations by PAS that the government listed FGV shares in Bursa Malaysia was to the detriment of Felda settlers.   Nazarry also agreed with the recent statement of Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin that the government set up FGV to ensure Felda grows into a successful corporate body.......... Nazarry, who is also Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd director, advised settlers who own FGV shares to keep them and not to sell to avoid realising losses. In fact he encouraged other investors to take the opportunities to invest in FGV shares as it was rather low and cheap now. Based on Bursa Malaysia closing on Tuesday, FGV shares were traded at RM2.07 compared to RM4.45 when the shares were opened to retailers on June 28 2012. The view is also supported by economic analyst Professor Dr Mohd Fauzi Mohd Jani who clarified that the fall in crude oil price had affected palm oil price............ http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/felda-shares-will-bounce-back-analysts-assure-settlers-bernama#sthash.ZDEPczUh.dpuf

Felda Global Ventures eyes brownfield plantations to maintain cash;  BAHAU, May 1 — Felda Global Ventures Plantations (M) Sdn Bhd (FGV) says it will continue to acquire old oil palm plantations at a time when the company is carrying out aggressive replanting activities to maintain financial flow and profit. Executive vice-president and head of plantation cluster Abdul Halim Ahmad said the company is looking to acquire an estimated 15,000 ha. of brownfields a year, the same hectarage in its replanting programme. "We already have between 25,000 to 30,000 ha. of brownfields, and we are also eyeing 20,000 ha. to ensure stable cash flow for the company," he told reporters on a media visit here today. Abdul Halim said Felda Global's profit is expected to grow by up to 25 per cent in five years as its oil palm trees mature. He said replanting 15,000 ha. would cost RM135 million in the first year, rising to RM172.5 million in the second year after adding RM37.5 million in farm maintenance costs. FGV's planned acquisitions of brownfields in Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea are expected to be finalised by year-end, he said, adding brownfield acquisitions normally exceed 10,000 ha.   Funding for the acquisitions would come from its 2012 initial public offering proceeds, he said. FGV has a landbank of 467,755 ha., including 56,422 ha. in Indonesia. Out of the total, 350,394 ha. are oil palm plantations................ http://www.themalaymailonline.com/money/article/fhv-eyes-brownfield-plantations-to-maintain-cash#sthash.u1AsUrbl.dpuf

26 April 2015: In 2013, Felda allocated RM1.4 billion to build 20,000 units of affordable homes (at RM70,000 each?) nationwide in five years to enable the second generations to own homes; Rompin Parliamentary seat fell vacant after incumbent Tan Sri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis was killed in a helicopter crash at Semenyih; As Rompin had 14 Felda land schemes, the issue of second generation Felda houses, was close to the hearts of voters in the areas

Don’t be duped by opposition, Muhyiddin tells Rompin Felda settlers – Bernama Published: 26 April 2015 4:36 PM; Muhyiddin gave assurance that as long as BN was in power, the interests of the Felda settlers would continue to be protected in terms of development, education and the economy. "The history of Felda began when the late Tun Abdul Razak wanted to assist the people to overcome poverty and one of the approaches taken was the distribution of land that could be developed so that the settlers would have a brighter future. "However, this has become history, now many of the Felda areas have become new growth areas with better stadard of living compared to when they were first developed," he said. The Felda settlers at first lived in wooden houses, but they now lived in brick houses, he added. "The houses probably had one or two bedrooms in the past but now, they have grown bigger when more vehicles could be seen in front of the houses during Hari Raya. This shows that the settler community now enjoy many facilities and live more comfortably," he added. – Bernama, April 26, 2015. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dont-be-duped-by-opposition-muhyiddin-tells-rompin-felda-settlers#sthash.MaiTHAnb.dpuf

Felda has never cheated settlers, says chairman – Bernama Published: 24 April 2015 12:05 AM; He said the Felda community should accept that no comfortable house could be built at a cost of RM90,000. "We have no intention of cheating the people over the issue of house. But we must accept the fact that with RM90,000, we cannot built a comfortable house," he told reporters after officiating a ground-breaking ceremony for Dewan Semai Bakti in Felda Keratong 10, Rompin, today; In 2013, Felda allocated RM1.4 billion to build 20,000 units of affordable homes nationwide in five years to enable the second generations to own homes. Meanwhile, Pahang PAS deputy commissioner Nasrudin Hassan said in Muadzam Shah that the second-generation Felda houses would be among the main issues for the party campaign machinery at Rompin by-election. "The issue of houses for the second generation is still pending. The voters in the area are disillusioned as after so long the houses which were promised to them are not forthcoming," he said. As Rompin had 14 Felda land schemes, the issue of second generation Felda houses, was close to the hearts of voters in the areas, he said. - See more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/felda-has-never-cheated-settlers-says-chairman-bernama#sthash.WH3loMxQ.dpuf

Felda Settlers Urged To Reject Opposition's Accusations During Rompin By-Election; ROMPIN, April 20 (Bernama) -- Felda settlers have been advised to not easily fall prey to the opposition's slander and accusations on the government to 'fish' for votes during the Rompin Parliamentary by-election on May 5; Felda chairman Tan Sri Isa Samad said the opposition's plan was to divide settlers by harping issues with intention to incite hatred toward the government. "They have been doing this in every by-election and general election, but thank god many of the Felda settlers do not believe their accusation," he told reporters after the groundbreaking of the Felda Keratong 9 Semai Bakti Hall, here, today. The 3,500-square meter project, worth RM950,000, will accommodate facilities for 2,000 settlers to organise various activities. Isa said Felda was liaising with the local community and leaders to repel the opposition's accusations by providing exact information about Goods and Services Tax (GST) and 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) related-issues. "Continuous information programmes will be held to Felda settlers in the country so that they will not fall prey to the opposition's accusations," he said. The Rompin Parliamentary seat fell vacant after incumbent Tan Sri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis was killed in a helicopter crash at Semenyih, Selangor on April 4.
The Election Commission has set April 22 as nomination day and May 5 as polling day. -- BERNAMA; http://www.bernama.com.my/bernama/v8/ge/newsgeneral.php?id=1127974

Booklets, officers to explain on GST for Rompin folks  By T.N.Alagesh and Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi - 23 April 2015 @ 11:13 PM; ROMPIN: To ensure voters in Rompin have accurate information about the Goods and Services Tax (GST), the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry has distributed booklets on the newly-implemented tax system to 38 voting district centre (PDM) in the constituency. "We hope voters in Rompin will not be easily duped by the misleading information spread by the opposition on GST as the tax collected by the government will be used for the benefit of the people," he said. Meanwhile, Felda chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad reminded settlers not to be easily duped by misleading information about Felda Global Ventures Holding during election campaign.  "The (opposition) are only recycling issues which were previously highlighted during the 13th general election and now since it is a by election, they are back to lure voters. They are aware that Rompin has about 17 Felda settlements and the settlers could decide the outcome on polling day," he said. http://www.nst.com.my/node/81535


Philippines palm oil: 1 million hectare oil palm hopes center on Caraga? FGV, NBPOL, Pertamina, PTPN among key intended FDI players?

19 April 2015: 1 million hectare oil palm hopes center on Caraga? FGV, NBPOL, Pertamina, PTPN among key intended FDI players?

Caraga eyed for oil palm amid 1-M-hectare target for Mindanao By Carmelito Q. Francisco, Correspondent  April 05, 2015 08:18:00 PM; DAVAO CITY -- Mindanao authorities are looking at developing about a million hectares for oil palm farming with about a third of the total area in the Caraga Region.... The Mindanao Development Authority (MinDA), through Public Affairs Division Chief Romeo M. Montenegro, said Caraga can become the center of oil palm production in Mindanao as studies show the climate and soil condition in parts of the region, particularly in the Agusan provinces, are ideal for both nurseries and farms. Caraga is composed of 5 provinces: Agusan del Norte and Sur, Surigao del Norte and Sur, and the Dinagat Islands..... About 60,000 hectares in Mindanao have so far been developed for oil palm production, a large portion of which are in Caraga and some in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, according to MinDA data.....  The industry has become “exciting”, said Mr. Montenegro, as nine companies from Malaysia and Indonesia, the two biggest oil palm producers and exporters, have signaled their intention to invest.
Among these companies are Felda Global Ventures, New Britain Palm Oil Ltd.-PNG, Pertamina-Indonesia, Perkebunan Nusantara-Indonesia, and Bali Palm Oil-Indonesia
..... Officials of Felda, the Malaysian government’s Federal Land Development Authority, have visited Mindanao twice in recent months to look into investment possibilities in Mindanao..... In Davao City, oil palm projects are being eyed in the remote agricultural districts, particularly in Marilog, including some areas covered by Certificates of Ancestral Domain held by various indigenous communities.....
The Philippine Palm Oil Development Council is also pushing for the expansion of the industry in Mindanao, saying it can potentially match the importance of coconut, the country’s top agricultural export commodity..... http://www.bworldonline.com/content.php?section=Economy&title=caraga-eyed-for-oil-palm-amid-1-m-hectare-target-for-mindanao&id=105484

Felda Global leaps to "target" and 12% cash-in? (correction)

Khor Reports notes and comments: 

The opening push on Felda Global took the stock to RM5.46, a whisker below the RM5.50-6.00 range that market experts mentioned over a month ago to Khor Reports as the “hoped for” target; as we reported in “FELDA SETTLERS & THE FELDA GLOBAL IPO – a socio‐political perspective” dated 22 May 2012. 

Felda Global's shares closed the day at RM5.30, for a gain of 19% on the RM4.45 per share price for the public (institutions paid RM4.55)#. At this price, its earnings valuation is 15.7x, compared to 17.5x for KL Kepong, 14.4x for Sime Darby and 9.5x for Golden Agri. 

On a day when RM2.8 billion worth of securities were traded on Bursa Malaysia, RM1.5 billion was in the plantation sector. Felda Global was enjoying its debut, and it generated a huge value traded of about RM1.4 billion, or half of the Malaysian bourse's activity. It's not yet part of the FBM KLCI index of 30 stocks@, but it is expected to enter in the future. Among the largest Malaysian plantation stocks, Felda Global's RM19.3 billion market capitalization currently puts it behind KL Kepong with RM24.5 billion, but ahead of PPB Group (which has a key stake in Wilmar International) with RM18.8 billion.

Holders of shares from the offer for sale and the public issue will be sitting pretty with gains in excess of RM1.4 billion today, with about 12% trading their holdings on the first day, locking in gains of some RM170 million.

However, a Reuters news article raises questions about how the shares in Felda Global were allocated. It quotes: "This Felda IPO is an embarrassment," said an official with a Malaysian bank-backed fund management firm. "About 23 percent of the book was allocated to 'friends and family', all at the expense of legitimate investors with potential synergies."  

The share allocation by Felda Global is summarised in its IPO prospectus in the table below, but there is little information yet on total shares allocated to key executives and details of major shareholders.

 @ http://www.ftse.com/objects/csv_to_table.jsp?infoCode=bm1c&theseFilters=&csvAll=&theseColumns=MSwyLDMsMjA=&theseTitles=&tableTitle=FTSE%20Bursa%20Malaysia%20KLCI&dl=&p_encoded=1
#Correction at 11.20am on 29 June 2012, of 2nd paragraph on retail and institutional price, so that the gain is 19% not 16.5% on retail IPO price.

Some news reports:

The Edge Malaysia: "FGV is the third largest planter in the world after Sime Darby and Singapore-listed Golden Agri-Resources Ltd. As a yardstick, Sime is currently trading at an average of roughly 14.4 times estimated earnings for 2012/13, and Golden Agri at 63 Singapore cents is valued at 9.5 times estimated earnings for 2012 and and 8.8 times for 2013."  http://www.theedgemalaysia.com/business-news/216198-fgvh-fails-to-sustain-debut-momentum-.html


"The strong debut beat market expectations of a first day pop of 10 percent and brushed aside, for now, a widely flagged 36 percent drop in Felda Global's first-quarter profit to 223.2 million ringgit ($70 million) that unnerved some investors."

"To keep the farmers happy, government-linked funds and the domestic pension fund, which accounted for part of the institutional tranche, made a rush for the stock during the book-building process."

"This Felda IPO is an embarrassment," said an official with a Malaysian bank-backed fund management firm. "About 23 percent of the book was allocated to 'friends and family', all at the expense of legitimate investors with potential synergies."

Reuters news feature, "Malaysia's Felda surges 20 percent in debut of world's No.2 IPO," http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/28/us-malaysia-felda-ipo-idUSBRE85R07S20120628

Felda Global saved major embarrassment over Dreyfus?

Khor Reports notes & comment: 

Last minute negotiations seem to save Felda Global from serious embarrassment, as it doesn't lose one of its (if not "the" most) prominent strategic investors - Louis Dreyfus Commodities. 

However, from an initial offer of 5% to a final take-up of a 0.5% stake (a 90% reduction), as widely reported in newspapers, this seems cold comfort. Thus, 10% of what was initially offered was finally done, and apparently well past the expected cut-off date. Felda Global says that the stake was reduced because of high IPO demand. 

Industry commentators contrast this 0.5% stake with fellow global commodity giant, Archer Daniels Midland's (ADM) 16.4% interest in Wilmar@. Despite the low figure, the 0.5% stake is still touted as a "strategic investment."

On 21 June, the FT notes: "The involvement of Dreyfus as a strategic investor was widely seen as a key element of the biggest IPO since Facebook’s stock market listing last month...“It’s [the Dreyfus involvement] something that’s been pretty prominently talked about as a big ticket item and it’s an embarrassment. This was something that was meant to be a key part of the IPO,” a third person said. “There is a lot of tension and heated tempers right now.”...."  

A strategic partnership is apparently also now in place, although details were not disclosed. It is likely that Louis Dreyfus Commodities sought to market Felda Global's palm oil; but we hear from industry sources that Felda Global may not have been entirely keen to outsource its marketing to third parties.

It would have been interesting to be the proverbial "fly on the wall" when Felda Global and Louis Dreyfus thrashed out the latest strategic investment and strategic partnership. Did Felda Global have to offer better terms to Louis Dreyfus to lure them back, after news reports that its expected stake was given out to others? Was an even better, lower effective price, given to the commodity company?
News articles:

@"The Company has a 16.4% ownership interest in Wilmar International Limited (Wilmar), a Singapore publicly listed company. Wilmar, a leading agribusiness group in Asia, is engaged in the businesses of oil palm cultivation, oilseeds crushing, edible oils refining, sugar, consumer pack edible oils processing and merchandising, specialty fats, oleo chemicals, biodiesel, fertilizers and soy protein manufacturing, rice and flour milling, and grains merchandising...." 


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".