Shahrizat goes on three weeks’ leave

(NST) – Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil will be taking a three-week break from her duties as women, family, and community development minister starting today.

In a statement yesterday, Shahrizat said this was to facilitate investigations by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into her possible involvement in the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) case. 

“I have submitted my request for leave to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak,” she said.

Meanwhile, MACC investigation director Datuk Mustafar Ali said it was finalising investigation papers on the NFC case, before making a recommendation to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

Shahrizat’s husband Datuk  Seri Dr Mohamed Salleh Ismail is the  executive chairman of NFC and their three children are also directors of the company.   

The controversy surrounding NFC started after the Auditor-General’s 2010 Report described the project as “messy” and said it had failed to meet targets set by the government.

In December 2007, the government approved a soft loan of RM250 million, with an annual interest of two per cent for 10 years, for NFC to start a national feedlot centre in Gemas, Negri Sembilan, to help reduce beef imports. The initial target was to produce 60,000 head of cattle a year.

Police are carrying out a separate probe on NFC for cheating and criminal breach of trust. Mustafar  said the commission would be calling a few more witnesses. “We will be calling a few more people. If necessary, we will also call Datuk Seri (Shahrizat).”

Sources also told NST that MACC’s probe was focused on the element of “abuse of power”.