Frankly Speaking: Pray tell what went wrong at FELDA

This article first appeared in The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on October 1, 2018 - October 07, 2018.
Frankly Speaking: Pray tell what went wrong at FELDA
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At a press conference a few weeks ago, the Federal Land Development Authority’s (FELDA) newly appointed chairman, Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor, announced that the ailing entity was targeting a turnaround in two years.

He said FELDA will prioritise strengthening its cash flow and reducing its RM8.05 billion debt while monetising its assets in London, Kuching and Kota Kinabalu. “Turning around FELDA is our job,” he declared.

Sadly, we have heard this before.

While we understand that Megat Zaharuddin was only appointed at the end of July, what the public wants to know is what went wrong at FELDA and what action is being taken against those who put it in such a bad state.

Recall that in January last year, Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, when he had just been appointed chairman, said he would be meeting the FELDA director-general and senior management to discuss a restructuring to revive the body. He also promised a shake-up at FELDA and to improve its governance and financial performance.

But there was no news of any restructuring after that and FELDA’s financials do not seem to have improved. Indeed, why haven’t FELDA’s financials been made public?

So, perhaps Megat Zaharuddin should reveal FELDA’s true situation and how he plans to rectify it. At least then, there will be some clarity as to what the problems are and the authorities will know whether plans are actually being made to change FELDA’s fortunes or if it is just paying lip service.

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