Finance Minister II dodges NFC query

By Yow Hong Chieh, The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — Datuk Seri Husni Hanadzlah today declined to elaborate on the standard procedure for disbursing government loans in the wake of allegations that a publicly-funded cattle venture had misused its federal funds.

“The National Feedlot issue is already under police investigation. Let that be completed…

“This is under their jurisdiction. Let them handle it,” the second finance minister told reporters after delivering his keynote address at the 16th Malaysian Capital Market Summit here.

The National Feedlot Centre (NFC) has been dogged by allegations of corruption and fund misappropriation after it made it into the pages of this year’s Auditor-General’s Report, which described the project “as a mess”.

PKR has alleged that NFC funds were used for minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil’s personal expenses and that of her family, as well as to purchase two condominium units at the luxurious One Menerung in Bangsar for RM13.8 million.

Shahrizat’s husband and NFC chairman Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail broke his silence last week to defend the property buy as an investment and to deny that the project was a failure.

Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar has also said the NFC was never brought up in Cabinet during the previous Abdullah Ahmad Badawi administration, as it was under the purview of the Cabinet Committee for High-Impact Projects, then chaired by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

PKR further alleged on Monday that the funds meant for the NFC were used to pay for umrah packages and set up two Singapore-based companies, both owned by Shahrizat’s family.

The opposition party claimed to have proof that Mohamed Salleh had ordered a payment of RM31,580 to be made for his haj pilgrimage and that of his son Izran in 2010.

PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution has urged the police and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to probe all transactions between the NFC and its associated companies, the National Meat and Livestocks Corporation (NMLC) and Real Food Company (RFC).

Both NMLC and RFC are majority-owned by Mohamad Salleh and his children Izran and Izmir.