Johor MP roasts FGV board for betraying Felda settlers after shareholders approve pay bump in AGM

·3-min read
Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, June 23 — Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Abdul Karim today accused board members of public-listed FGV Holdings Berhad of betraying poor Federal Land Development Agency (Felda) settlers after shareholders approved resolutions to raise the perks and allowances of the firm’s non-executive chairman and directors.

Shareholders passed nine resolutions at FGV’s 14th annual general meeting earlier today that would, among others, raise Datuk Dzulkifli Abd Wahab’s yearly fee as non-executive chairman (NEC) to RM480,000 from RM300,000 previously.

“Why do I say the FGV board members have betrayed Felda settlers? Because from the nine agenda of today’s AGM, six of them were focused on passing motions to raise the allowances for its board of directors.

“The allowances that will be paid to the board of directors are too high and lucrative. The annual sum paid to the directors is obscene if put next to the hard lives of Felda settlers,” the PKR federal lawmaker said in a statement this afternoon.

FGV, which is in the agribusiness and food industry, is an affiliate of the statutory body Felda.

Dzulkifli will receive a monthly fee of RM40,000 as non-executive chairman of the board, up by RM15,000 as part of a new fee structure that will take effect June 24.

At the same time, seven other FGV non-executive directors will receive a monthly fee of RM12,500 until the next AGM, a RM2,500 increment.

FGV’s share price has plunged by nearly 13 per cent since the start of June, dropping by 60 sen per share from RM1.73 on June 1 to RM1.50 as of noon today.

The current share value is 50 sen lower than the peak last seen in March 3, when Felda failed in its bid to take the world’s largest crude palm oil producer private.

FGV listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 2012 as an investor favourite at an offer price of 4.55 ringgit per share in what was hailed as the world’s second largest initial public offer after Facebook.

The share price has plunged since the listing. On June 23, 2021, FGV share price traded at just RM1.30.

Felda and KPF now control 81 per cent of FGV shares, with the Pahang and Sabah government owning the remaining 5 and 4 per cent respectively.

The company’s poor performance was seen as one of the major political setbacks that drove Barisan Nasional out of power at the 2018 elections.

Under the succeeding Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration, shareholders were directed to block attempts to raise the remuneration of FGV’s board members.

The move was part of the recommendations made in the White Paper tabled by the PH government to help put FGV’s finances back in the black and improve Felda settlers’ living standards.

Hassan suggested the firm’s decision to raise the directors’ allowances signals the return of poor corporate governance that had contributed to billions of ringgit in losses.

“It is highly unfortunate and irresponsible that the FGV board of directors was purely interested in discussing, tabling and passing (motions to raise) their own allowances,” he said.

For the latest quarter ended September 30, 2021, FGV reported total borrowings of RM4.17 billion, comprising RM1.47 billion in long-term borrowings and RM2.71 billion in short-term borrowings, compared to RM6.72 billion in total equity.