Wednesday, June 16, 2010

My Personal Interest in Sime Darby & FELDA...

That’s it. Appointment of the beleaguered Sime Darby’s Group CEO is the straw that breaks my camel’s back.

Here’s why.

My baby brother is a chemist with ex-Golden Hope’s subsidiary. This establishment produces amongst the best crude palm oil in the world, used in many products meant for export market mainly – thanks to Golden Hope’s meticulous care of its plantation (even my highway client commended how good the soil in their plantation considering the area surrounding is swampy). Golden Hope, in addition, was once considered as amongst the best employers to work with, inculcated a close-knit plantation family culture amongst the staff, providing ample job opportunities to the surrounding community that most staff tend to work till their retirement day with Golden Hope. It was no wonder for them to win the coveted Most Caring Employer for 2006 and 2007 after being named one of the “Best under One Billion” companies in Asia Pacific in October 2005. Came CIMB Investment, Golden Hope was delisted and everything Golden Hope was systematically replaced with Sime Darby – the supposedly pride of this nation. By hook or by crook, most Golden Hope’s senior managements were removed and one best example was termination of Golden Hope’s Finance Director and my brother’s GM, after their refusal to resign, having been blamed for RM120 M losses due to one rogue trader’s jolly forex trading. Both took the case to the court but Sime Darby, in its efforts to close its cans of worms, managed to persuade them to settle out of court handsomely. My brother told me the GM is such a humble, dedicated and well-experienced man – the rumour had it that he was set up by certain parties, to nip the shoot before it grows. With Sime Darby at the wheel, they bring in their not-so-fantastic culture, they spent so much on renovations and changing the management’s cars, they forget to look after their staff’s welfare. I guessed Sime Darby has been cursed too much by its ex-staff, its circa RM1.0 B cost overruns in Bakun Damned is the price it has to pay for such misery caused to its staff and the indigenous people adversely affected by this damning project. That is on top of another B losses Sime Darby incurred from its Qatar project, lest we forget already.

Its new Group CEO is the chairman of Bank Islam and CEO of FELDA Global. It was mentioned somewhere in pro-Gomen mouthpiece that he is headhunted for turning around sick companies. Some say he’s instrumental with Tabung Haji but it was also during his time Tabung Haji lost RM65 M to high risk investment. Then, he came to turn around FELDA. From having cash reserves of approximately RM4.5 B once upon a time, this cash cow is not that fat any more – the reserves plunged to whopping RM200 M! Thank you Mr. Charles Santiago for highlighting this to us here.

I love my sister in law dearly – maybe because we are true pisces. Hailed from one remote Jengka settlement, she’s the only one of her 11 siblings that graduated from tertiary education system. My brother courted her in the lab, where both of them worked as chemists. Despite her difficult childhood, she is one strong lady. Her financial intelligence surpasses mine and she has the most caring heart when most people who grew up in her environment would grow up self-centred and snobbish. I’m so glad that my Third Angel has her as his beloved mother.

"The miserable have no other medicine but only hope" ~ William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

Last Sunday, we were talking about the quality of water in our residential area. SYABAS, as we all know too well, does a sloppy job in providing us not-so-clear water. She told me she would make a point to lug a few big bottles of drinking water whenever she goes back to her hometown. Apparently, the water is murky and sometimes, they won’t get any water, especially during long festive season. She dares not drinking water from her parent’s tap. My heart sinks – how about her parents living there? How much contaminated water have they been drinking so far? How much suffering they have to endure all this while when Pahang is UMNO stronghold?

In a few occasions, we have visited her parents in Jengka. Developments are primarily concentrated in Pusat Bandar Jengka. Hospital, banks and business areas are miles away and there is no public transport to commute these people to such places of great necessities. I recall seeing The Little Red Dot’s MoH coaster picking up people from housing estates and dropping them after their hospital appointment. With the kind of money FELDA has, why can’t they invest in a modest mini bus to every settlement area? While some lived bigger, better houses, most still live too simple a life. Being around them makes me feel so humble because with little help from kacang-lupakan-kulit FELDA, they are happy people and they achieved a lot with their own sweats, tears and blood. So, reading this piece of lousy cover-up by Ahmad Maslan (Oh, naib ketua pemuda umno.. No wonder stevie wonder), welfare my foot! Imagine if they are given opportunities, I am sure these people would be able to create a self-sufficient community, that grows their own food, that cares for their own people, that enriches everyone’s life. It is too much for FELDA management to decide spending RM600 M to build their own HQ when their people in Jengka and other settlements have to live such a harsh reality.

Please, we had enough of blunders, plunders and dunderheads running and dictating our lives. Before GE13, PR needs to make significant inroads to such settlements. We need to win for these people to live a better life. As simple as that. They don’t need new mosques, new balairaya, new parliament building, new palace or stadium. They need a new team to safeguard their interest in FELDA – their hope.

"Hope is some extraordinary spiritual grace that God gives us to control our fears, not to oust them" ~ Vincent McNabb


Uncle Lee said...

Hi Fi-Sha, Wow! And I always thought of Sime Darby as....never mind. I guess in the 60s, 70s they were different.
Love your stir fry....goreng and bungkus same time, ha ha....without fear or favour. Wayyyy to go, Fi-Shah.
The country needs more eloquent people like you.
Have a pleasant week, Lee.

Fi-sha said...


Dear Uncle Lee

I like my stir-fries very much they could burn someone's ego sometimes :) Definitely without fear and favour, I love mine with more flavours to it :)

On a serious note, I need to talk those things out because those images I saw cannot be erased from my 'black box' until I see something is being done.

Ya, TM says its good to talk kan?