Govt ropes in Idris Jala to solve FGV turmoil

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KUALA LUMPUR (June 7): Datuk Seri Idris Jala, now chief executive officer (CEO) of Pemandu Associates Sdn Bhd, has been roped in by the government to solve the turmoil in Felda Global Ventures Holdings Bhd (FGV).

In a statement today, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said Idris has been appointed as an independent party to establish the facts of the case and recommend the way forward following the FGV board of directors' decision to suspend its group president and chief executive officer Datuk Zakaria Arshad and three other senior executives yesterday.

"The relevant parties have agreed to the apppointment of Idris," said PMO, referring to FGV non-executive chairman Tan Sri Mohd Isa Abdul Samad, Zakaria, FGV group chief financial officer Ahmad Tifli Mohd Talha and Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad, who is the chairman of Federal Land Development Authority (Felda) — the single largest shareholder of FGV.

Shortly after the announcement, Zakaria tweeted: “I welcome PM's decision to appoint Dato' Sri Idris Jala as an independent party to establish the facts of case.”

In a surprise move yesterday, Zakaria, Ahmad Tifli and the heads of two FGV subsidiaries — Delima Oil Products Sdn Bhd senior general manager Kamarzaman Abd Karim and FGV Trading Sdn Bhd CEO Ahmad Salman Omar — were given leave of absence with immediate effect pending investigations of certain transactions under Delima Oil.

Their suspension came amid talk of Mohd Isa proposing the removal of Zakaria during a recent board meeting, allegedly citing a late payment by an Afghan company called Safitex Trading LLC, with which Delima Oil had dealings with.

Formerly managing director and CEO at the now dissolved Malaysian Airline System Bhd, Idris was appointed as Minister without Portfolio in the Prime Minister's Department and also served as CEO of the Performance Management and Delivery Unit from 2009 till 2015. Idris has been chairman of Heineken Malaysia Bhd since Jan 1, 2017.