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'That's for Felda sukuk issuance': Muhyiddin's man takes Anwar to task after PM shows documents

Marzuki Mohamad urges the prime minister to declassify the minutes of a Cabinet meeting chaired by Muhyiddin Yassin in October 2020, which approved a plan to write off Felda settlers' debts.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
A copy of the agreement on government-guaranteed Felda sukuk.
A copy of the agreement on government-guaranteed Felda sukuk.

A former aide to Muhyiddin Yassin has urged Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to declassify the minutes of a Cabinet meeting in October 2020 that approved a plan by the then government to waive Felda settlers' debts.

It comes after Marzuki Mohamad, who served as political secretary to the former prime minister, questioned the documents shown by Anwar, which the latter said were proof the debt waiver plan was approved by him.

"I already knew it at first glance. The document is not a waiver agreement for Felda settlers' debts but an agreement on government-guaranteed sukuk issued in stages," said Marzuki.

Just three months after taking office in 2020, Muhyiddin initiated a plan to write off the Felda settlers' debts. The plan was approved by the Cabinet in October 2020, which, among others, agreed to the issuance of a RM9.9 billion sukuk with a government guarantee to finance Felda's restructuring plans.

In February this year, Putrajaya said it was unable to continue Muhyiddin's plan to waive the settlers' loans, citing Felda's cash flow constraints.

Earlier this month, Anwar claimed Muhyiddin never implemented the plan to write off settlers' loans and instead said it was him who, as finance minister, signed an allocation for RM8.3 billion in June.

Anwar again repeated the remarks on July 8, saying Muhyiddin was too busy "finding contracts for children".

On July 18, Muhyiddin, through his lawyers, gave Anwar 24 hours to retract his claims that he had not fulfilled his promise to waive the settlers' debts.

Marzuki said the RM9.9 billion sukuk approved in October 2020 was part of the Felda recovery plan, which included writing off 80% of settlers' debts worth RM8.3 billion, the takeover of FGV, the settlement of loans with Maybank and the Employees Provident Fund, as well as the allocation of annual grants worth RM990 million.

"The document attached with the prime minister's media statement does not prove that the writing off of settlers' debt was only made in June 2023. It is about the issuance of government-guaranteed sukuk, which is indeed part of the Cabinet's decision in 2020.

"Whoever is the finance minister must sign this document," said Marzuki, adding that Muhyiddin was not the finance minister.