KUALA LUMPUR, June 19 — Changes in the Board of Directors of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV) following the resignation of the chairman and subsequent appointment of an acting chairman, is no doubt a much-needed boost for the crisis-plagued plantation group.
Experts lauded the good move by the board and swift action by the Prime Minister’s Office as FGV is a matter of national pride, having been the world’s second largest listing behind Facebook in 2012.
Although investigations into FGV is still ongoing, this new development has spurred constructive sentiment on Bursa Malaysia, as players welcome it with a show of brisk buying of the company shares.
FGV ended the day 8 sen higher at RM1.84 with 34.72 million shares being transacted.
Tan Sri Mohd Isa Samad had voluntarily relinquished his chairman’s post, while Tan Sri Dr Sulaiman Mahbob was appointed the acting chairman.
FGV Chief Executive Officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad who was central to this controversy after being forced to take a leave of absence, congratulated Sulaiman in a statement, saying: “I will abide by the recommendations from Datuk Idris Jala’s report.”
Meanwhile, Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) Director Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said the resignation of Isa and appointment of Sulaiman, would pave the way for a completely clean investigation and believed a satisfactory conclusion to resolving the unfortunate development can be achieved.
“I finally see a brighter opening. There is plenty of hope among many people, especially the Felda settlers that it (the investigation) will bring about a good resolution.
“The priority is to focus on their welfare and protection of their interests,” he told Bernama.
Commenting on the appointments, Ramon said Sulaiman was known for his integrity and intellectual strength, which means a good outlook for the top management of FGV.
“He will do an excellent job,” he added.
Meanwhile, a settler from Felda Chemomoi, Bentong, Jamil Karim said he had been closely monitoring developments in both the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) and FGV in his 30 years of doing business with both.
Although, he did not know Sulaiman personally, Jamil expressed hope that the new acting chairman would do his work well and give priority to the planters.
“With this change, it is also hoped that the chairman can turn FGV into a corporate body that is more profitable and no longer a high-risk investment block.
“FGV should have long reaped profits for its investors, especially the Felda settlers,” he said.
Sulaiman, 68, is the non-independent/non-executive chairman of Telekom Malaysia Bhd and chairman of Malaysian Institute of Economic Research (MIER).
He had served the government for over 38 years in various capacities including holding the position of director-general of the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister’s Department, secretary-general of the then Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs and Under Secretary (Economics) of the Ministry of Finance.
He served as head of the Secretariat of the National Economic Action Council during the financial crisis in 1997/1998, when Malaysia implemented capital controls.
Meanwhile, MIER Executive Director Dr Zakaria Abdul Rashid shared his experience working with Sulaiman, saying he was very cautious and placed importance on the chemistry between the both of them.
He also said Sulaiman gave ample leeway for other board members to make decisions, but to refer to him first on bigger things before taking any decision.
“I would like to say ‘well done’ and ‘congratulations’ to him and with this, we hope the crisis in FGV and with Felda will be solved immediately,” he added. — Bernama