‘ONLY NAJIB CAN ANSWER’: NEW CORRUPTION SCANDAL – WHO GAVE OK FOR FELDA TO BUY EAGLE HIGH AT 3 TIMES MARKET PRICE, RAFIZI DEMANDS ANSWER FROM PM
With criticism mounting against Felda’s planned purchase of a 37 percent stake in PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk, PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli wants Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to answer several questions on the matter.
His demand comes after Felda announced it would buy a non-controlling stake in the Indonesian plantation for US$505.4 million (RM2.26 billion).
During a press conference in Kuala Lumpur today, Rafizi cited Eagle High Plantations’ average share price in 2015 was between 132 rupiah to 315 rupiah per share.
Based on the average share price in the past 52 weeks, a share at Eagle High Plantations was 200 rupiah or 6.7sen in ringgit.
As such, Rafizi said Felda would pay a premium of 290 percent to buy the 37 percent stake in Eagle High Plantations, which is three times more than the average share price recorded in the past 52 weeks.
Even if the purchase is compared with Eagle High Plantations’ share price at present, he said Felda would still be paying a premium of 195 percent to acquire the aforementioned stake.
Citing Felda’s 2014 audited financial statement, Rafizi claimed that Felda only had RM291 million in cash.
He further pointed out that the figure was only for 2014. Felda’s 2015 financial statement has yet to be submitted to member of Parliaments.
Therefore, Rafizi wanted to know how Felda would make the RM2.26 billion purchase to acquire the stake in Eagle High Plantations when it only had RM291 million in cash at the end of 2014.
“(And) who gave the instruction to buy the 37 percent stake in Eagle High Plantations for three times more than the market price?” he asked.
‘Only Najib can answer’
These questions, said the Pandan MP, could only be answered by Najib, pointing to the relationship between the latter and Indonesian tycoon Peter Sondakh.
He described the latter as being the prime minister’s “business associate”.
“I want Najib to answer whether he instructed any official to continue with the purchase of the 37 percent of shares of Eagle High Plantations, owned by his business associate Sondakh,” he added.
Sondakh is the chairperson and chief executive officer of Rajawali Group. Eagle High Plantations is a plantation unit of the Indonesian conglomerate.
Rafizi also confirmed that he would lodge a police report against Najib and the Felda board of directors over this matter on Thursday.
Reiterating that he would hold daily press conferences on this, the PKR leader also said his side would attempt to “pull strings” with their counterparts in Indonesia.
“Logically, no politician (in Malaysia and Indonesia) is going to push for this,” he added. Felda announced the planned purchase in Eagle High Plantations after a failed attempt by Felda Global Ventures (FGV) to purchase the same stake.
FGV, a company listed on Bursa Malaysia, was criticised by shareholders when it proposed to purchase the 37 percent for US$680 million.
Among the critics was the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), which had since dumped all of its shares in FGV.
Felda defended the planned purchase, insisting its offer price of US$505.4 million was a discount from FGV’s previous offer.