In this contentious issue of FGV listing, this question has never been answered. Do FELDA settlers have any standing whatsoever to dispute the listing of businesses run by FELDA at all? FELDA Holdings is managed by FELDA employees. FELDA global is operated by FELDA professionals. So why should FELDA settlers and others siding with settlers be irksome busybodies?
So, we have to establish whether settlers have a standing in the first place to even question the listing. If they don’t, they should shut up for as long as they get free benefits and are taken care of.
If we do indeed establish that settlers have standing and deemed interests, then we move on to ask, is the FGV listing a sellout to FELDA? So the second of our attention should be directed to the question whether the listing is a sellout.
Let’s face it- the interest of settlers is indirect here and is of little consequence. It should be a non-issue. As long as they get whatever form of benefits- bonuses, end of year cash handouts, futsal fields, indoor stadiums, hockey turfs, MRSM College, FELDA University- they should be thankful. Just on account of being a settler- they get all these. Where else can they get this kind of preferential treatment of being cared for from cradle to grave?
FELDA can continue giving all these, if it makes money as a whole. If it has the reserves from which they appropriate and apply as in the above examples we gave. And FELDA does indeed have the reserves. They even sued those who accused FELDA of being bankrupt. At its height, its reserves were RM 40 billion, then RM 4 billion and today- we don’t know how much. Maybe this listing will top up the depleting reserves. We don’t really know.
Hence the government which owns FELDA is greatly disturbed when people question the proposed listing of FELDA’s businesses not directly owned by settlers nor operated by them. Settlers tend their 10 acre lots- that are all they do. It’s FELDA- through FELDA Holdings and FGV that does business. Settlers have no business to interfere in these organizations run professionally.
Settlers derive direct benefits via ownership of the FELDA plots they have on which they worked on. They get benefits when they sell their FFB at FELDA owned mills at specific price level. Their interests are looked after better if they get good price for FFB, if the extraction rate of the oil is done truthfully, if their planting operations costs have been good. Their interests are better off, if the output per hectare is as good as estates operated by United Plantations, KLK, IOI and so forth.
Otherwise, the other benefits derived from being automatic members of FELDA Cooperative, or other extension organizations are indirect. Settlers are excluded from the management of these organizations. FELDA places professionals to run Koperasi Peermodalan FELDA for example, professional managers run FELDA Holdings and so forth. Settlers benefit by virtue of being settlers and are recipient of gratuitous benefits arising from businesses run by FELDA employees. In other words, they get free benefits, so why bother?
Do settlers even have a standing even to question the listing?
The answer is an emphatic yes. They do have standing because they are the real stakeholders in any of the businesses run by FELDA. Because they are the real stakeholders- because the businesses that are run by FELDA and the assets FELDA acquires, all spring and are derived from property rights of FELDA settlers. They are derived from the land owned by FELDA settlers or should have been owned by FELDA settlers. More important, because that was the reason why FELDA came into being in the first place. States gave FELDA the authority land- to be given to settlers. FELDA was only an authority vested with specific duties. It has no business withholding the land with which they were entrusted to give out. If the land was supposed to be given out to settlers and FELDA did not, then it has always been under an implied duty to operate the land for the benefits of the settlers.