Shahrir Samad: Isa Samad’s real target

Isa Samad has caused a RM1.1 billion loss in FGV’s share price by triggering the boardroom tussle. Further to that the Felda settlers hate him and, according to Pakatan Harapan, Umno is going to lose big-time in the Felda seats as long as Isa Samad is still around. Isa Samad is actually angry with Shahrir Samad who he feels is by-passing him and is interfering in FGV. That is why Isa Samad wants those he perceives as Shahrir’s ‘eyes and ears’ out of FGV. Basically Isa Samad has launched a turf war against Shahrir.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The hot issue this week is regarding the boardroom tussle in Felda Global Ventures Holdings (FGV), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Felda. This was blogger LSS’s comments on the matter:

FGV has 3.65 billion issued shares. On Monday, its share price was RM1.82. Yesterday, when it was officially announced that it had suspended the CEO, the CFO and two other executives, FGV’s share price immediately dropped 31sen to as low as RM1.51 before recovering to RM1.62 (down 20 sen). A 31sen loss per share equals to a RM1.1 billion loss of FGV’s market value. A 20sen loss equals to a loss of RM730 million

According to news report, the delay (not loss) in payment from the long-time customer from Afghanistan is 0.2% of FGV’s RM17.3 billion revenues for 2016 – or about RM34.6 million. Because of a RM34.6 million delay in payment from a long-time customer, you caused up to RM1.1 billion drop in market value and caused longterm damage to your listed company’s reputation with to-and-fro accusations between the Chairman and CEO of all sorts of impropriety? What smart people that they have in FGV’s board of directors.

LSS thinks it is silly to quarrel over a RM35 million delay in payment from a longterm customer and trigger a RM1.1 billion loss in the company’s market value (compounded by the allegations and counter-allegations of impropriety). Of course, that would be true if the RM35 million delay in payment was the real reason. But then this is merely an excuse to get rid of the company’s President and CEO. It is not the real reason.

The FGV boardroom tussle is not only affecting the company’s share price but is also giving Felda a bad name due to the allegations of impropriety

Malaysia Today has already written about this in great detail, which you can read here:

Zakaria Arshad is an obstacle to Isa Samad 

Why Isa Samad wants to get rid of Zakaria Arshad 

FGV’s Chairman, Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, is not happy with the company’s CEO, Zakaria Arshad. So he used the RM35 million delay in payment as the excuse to ask Zakaria to resign. Zakaria, however, refused to resign so Isa Samad brought the matter to the Board and asked the Board to sack Zakaria. Zakaria, in turn, alleged that there are many transgressions in the company and he invited the MACC to conduct an investigation into some of these corrupt acts. The MACC has already met Zakaria to get more information about these allegations.

Felda has been on the radar screen for some time (which was why Shahrir Samad was appointed the new Chairman to replace Isa Samad). In fact, PPBM a.k.a. Pribumi is confident that they can win most of the Felda seats because many Felda settlers are very unhappy with Isa, according to PPBM. And if Umno loses the Felda seats that means Barisan Nasional is going to lose the next general election and Pakatan Harapan is going to get to form the new government.

Isa Samad’s real target is Shahrir Samad, who replaced him as the Felda Chairman in January this year

Hence this is not just about FGV or Isa Samad. It is about the future and survival of Umno and the entire Barisan Nasional. Handle the FGV matter wrongly and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak might as well start packing his bags. That is how crucial Felda is to the future of Umno and Barisan Nasional. Najib should consider throwing Isa Samad to the wolves and save Umno rather than gamble away Umno’s future on a man who in 2005 was suspended from the party for corruption.

Isa Samad was demoted when Shahrir Samad replaced him as the Felda Chairman in January this year, which was a slap on Isa Samad’s face. As the non-executive Chairman Isa could only chair the board meetings and had no real executive powers in FGV. The company’s CEO, Zakaria, then started interacting with the chairman of Felda, that wholly-owned FGV anyway. And this upset Isa Samad.

Isa Samad does not like Shahrir. First of all it was a slap in the face when Shahrir replaced him as the Felda Chairman. Isa Samad has an inferiority complex because Shahrir is far more qualified than him. Isa Samad is like a country bumpkin while Shahrir has charisma matched by a strong educational background. Take the case of Felda’s purchase of PT Eagle High Plantations. It became a controversy mainly because Isa Samad was not able to explain the rational behind that Indonesian investment. This was what Malaysiakini reported in December 2016:

PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli plans to capitalise on Felda’s planned purchase of a 37 percent stake in PT Eagle High Plantations Tbk to take down the BN government. He said the plan to buy a non-controlling stake in the Indonesian plantation for US$505.4 million (RM2.26 billion) at a premium, was the ruling coalition’s biggest mistake.

“I’m confident that the purchase of Eagle High Plantations is the Umno and BN leadership’s biggest mistake, because it gives me the opportunity to enter Felda estates to explain in detail Najib’s responsibility in this deal,” Rafizi said in a statement today.

Rafizi Ramli said Umno is going to lose many of the Felda seats because of Isa Samad

As soon as Shahrir took over as the Felda Chairman he explained the deal and the controversy ended, something that Isa Samad was unable to do. In fact, Isa Samad also attracted controversy when he was the Menteri Besar of Negeri Sembilan. The late Yang Di-pertuan Besar of Negeri Sembilan was so upset with Isa Samad that HRH refused to attend any event or function where the Menteri Besar was present. HRH said that Isa Samad is crude, conceited and unethical and HRH does not want to share the same stage with him.

Since January this year, when Shahrir became the new Chairman of Felda, Zakaria has been in very close touch with him and reports the goings-on in FGV. Isa Samad is a non-executive Chairman so Zakaria only needs to report to the board and to the Chairman of the parent company. So Isa Samad feels he is being kept out of the loop and that Shahrir is undermining him.

So Isa Samad’s target is not really Zakaria and the other three executives. His real target is Shahrir. Isa Samad wants Zakaria and the other three out so that Shahrir no longer has his tentacles in FGV. Once Zakaria and the three are out Isa Samad can appoint his own men and Shahrir can then be kept in the dark regarding the affairs of FGV.

Isa Samad already got into trouble in 2005 when he employed Zahid Mat Arip to bribe the delegates to the 2004 Umno assembly

Basically this is a turf war between Isa Samad and Shahrir while Zakaria and the three others are collateral damage. To prevent Shahrir from prying into the affairs of FGV, Isa Samad has to get rid of those he perceives as Shahrir’s ears and eyes in FGV. That is the long and short of the whole thing. And even if FGV has to lose RM1.1 billion of its market capitalisation, plus the votes from the Felda settlers, so be it. That is the price one pays in a turf war.

This is reminiscent of the 2012 movie Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise. In that movie a hit man kills five people, seemingly at random. But only four of the victims were randomly chosen. Amongst those five was one specific target. The other four were to make it appear random.

This is the same as what Isa Samad is doing. He brings down four FGV executives whereas his real target, the fifth one, is Shahrir Samad. He wants Shahrir out of FGV and the way to do it is to kill off those four and replace them with his own ‘agents’.