RM1.68 billion windfall for Felda farmers

15,000 ringgit for each settler as Najib looks set to call snap polls

Najib Razak, the prime minister, has today announced a 1.68-billion ringgit ($550m) windfall for oil palm farmers as he looks set to call a snap election within the next few weeks. Each of the 112,635 settlers in land schemes of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) will get 15,000 ringgit in three equal payments. The money will form about a fifth of proceeds of an initial public offering (IPO) of 2.19 billion shares of Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGVH).

FGVH hopes to raise about 9 billion ringgit when it lists on Bursa Malaysia, the Malaysian stock exchange, next month. It is the world’s second largest IPO this year after Facebook.

15,000 ringgit for this Felda farmer.15,000 ringgit for this Felda farmer.

“We are making history with this windfall,” Najib told 30,000 settlers in his peninsular Pahang home state. “This listing marks a new era and is a step forward from my father’s dream.”

Najib’s late father Abdul Razak Hussein started Felda in the 1950s by giving land to poor Malays to grow oil palms. Now settlers on 880,000 hectares have become a significant bloc of votes in 52 of the country’s 222 parliamentary seats. Malays have traditionally voted for the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), the dominant party of the ruling 13-member Barisan Nasional coalition.

Najib does not have to call elections until March next year. But he has hinted that he would call one soon.

Malaysia is the world’s second producer of palm oil after Indonesia. It exported 83.4 billion ringgit of crude palm oil (CPO) last year. –

Source: Insight Sabah


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