THE fate of Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd’s (FGV) boardroom tussle will finally be resolved this week, and the ultimate decision will depend on its golden shareholder.
After a series of statements and counter-claims from both camps — FGV president and chief executive officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad and FGV chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad — a resolution could come as early as today.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had given his assurance that the issue would be settled before the end of Ramadan.
Hari Raya Aidilfitri will be celebrated on Sunday.
Zakaria, who was forced to take leave to facilitate an internal audit, has confirmed that he will reply to a show-cause letter from the board either today or tomorrow.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, which has initiated an investigation into FGV,
has made quick progress and the probe was 60 per cent completed as at Friday.
But the key factor will be the government, or specifically the Finance Ministry, which owns a golden share in the world’s third biggest palm oil producer .
“As the golden shareholder, the government has the jurisdiction to appoint and revoke three key positions in FGV,” a source told the New Straits Times yesterday.
“The positions are that of FGV chairman, FGV president and the Finance Ministry representative to the FGV board,” the source said.
Stakeholders, including the National Felda Settlers Children Association (Anak), have offered their own proposals for resolving FGV’s woes.
FGV, one of the biggest initial public offerings in the world when it was listed in 2012, debuted at RM5.39 per share.
Its share price and market capitalisation has taken a beating since then, attributed to low commodity prices, downstream losses and management issues. FGV closed at RM1.76 a share on Friday.
Anak chairman Mazlan Aliman had last week suggested that FGV’s biggest shareholder — the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) — call for an extraordinary shareholders meeting to vote on the re-composition of FGV’s board of directors.
This would be costly and take time, and was not likely to happen given the expected timeframe to resolve the impasse, the source said.
Anak members had also proposed that Felda chairman Tan Sri Shahrir Samad replace Isa as FGV chairman, another unlikely possibility as it would go against the best interest of good corporate governance.
Shahrir was appointed Felda chairman in January. Prior to that, Isa was chairman of both Felda and FGV.
“Remember that a month ago, Felda submitted three names to be on the FGV board,” the source said, pointing out that Felda did not currently have board representation in FGV.
Felda’s proposed nominees for the FGV board are believed to be Felda board member Datuk Abu Bakar Harun, deputy director-general in economic development Datuk Ab Ghani Mohd Ali and deputy director-general in management Datuk Muzzammil Mohd Nor.
Last week, at a breaking-of-fast programme with more than 6,000 Felda settlers in Johor, Najib said the government was committed to transforming FGV into a corporate company with high value in terms of revenue and shares.