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Monday, July 26, 2010

How can Felda be bankrupt if it paid RM1.3bil in taxes :Ahmad

WHY DON'T PUBLISHED THE FULL FELDA ACCOUNTS TODATE TO THE PUBLIC TO DETERMINE WHILE ALLOWING FELDA MEMBERS TO INSPECT THE BOOKS TO ASCERTAIN THE TRUTH.

Wong Choon Mei, Malaysia Chronicle

To underscore that Felda is not bankrupt, Deputy Minister Ahmad Maslan has revealed never-before published information that the land settlement agency paid RM1.303 billion in taxes to the government over a four-year period beginning 2004.

But pundits said the figures did not mean much except to reinforce public perception that the Prime Minister’s Department – to which Ahmad is attached – was extremely sensitive when it comes to criticism over Felda’s financial performance.

“The obvious question is why? Why are they so sensitive that they are willing to reveal such confidential information. Is there more than meets the eye in the cash depletion figures? Was that the tip of the ice-berg,” PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution told Malaysia Chronicle.

Tip of the ice-berg?

Earlier this month, Ahmad filed a RM200 million lawsuit against PKR newspaper Suara Keadilan when it recently front-paged a headline that screamed Felda Bangkrap. Government lawyers were ordered to issue a notice to the publication and its owners to apologize within 7 days, but they have refused to do so.

As far as they are concerned, they believe there was no defamation as Felda is a public corporate body and Ahmad himself had trigger widespread concern that the agency might be the next GLC to tank after blue-chip Sime Darby reported huge losses.

On Monday, Bernama reported Ahmad as telling a press conference that Felda was a “stable organization... How is it possible that an agency which receives no financial assistance from the government could pay such a high amount of taxes?"

"This is the first that time we reveal this data to the public. It is to prove that the allegation that Felda is bankrupt is wrong. This is Felda's contribution to the government and the people. The money can be used by the government to help the people," he added.

He declined to comment if his ministry would continue with its lawsuit against Suara Keadilan, saying that government lawyers were still looking into the matter.

Ahmad had told Parliament last month that Felda's cash reserve plunged RM2.73 billion from RM4.08 billion in 2004 to RM1.35 billion in 2009. His statement drew unexpectedly sharp public rebuke and nationwide accusations of high-level government corruption.

Pundits immediately questioned how Felda could spend as much as RM2 billion on replanting crops and also slammed the propriety of its decision to buy a swanky new headquarters in downtown Kuala Lumpur for RM662 million in a back-to-back deal with Naza-TTDI, a property firm with strong connections to the Umno elite.

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