Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said today minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil need not quit the Cabinet to take the heat for her family’s alleged mess of the RM250 million National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) cattle-farm scandal.
Abdullah, who was prime minister from October 2003 to April 2009, waded into the controversy today to defend the Wanita Umno chief after she came under attack from a partyman.
Kinabatangan MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin had demanded the senator quit the Cabinet and take responsibility for her family’s alleged mishandling of the national project.
“Ask the individual concerned. What’s it got to do with Shahrizat? It’s her husband… Shahrizat’s not involved, so don’t ask her,” Abdullah (picture) told reporters.
“If Shahrizat were the CEO then sure [you can ask her] but right now she’s not involved and it is very unfair to label her as involved,” said the ex-PM, popularly known as Pak Lah, echoing Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Shahrizat, who has headed the Women, Family and Community Ministry since 2001, is married to NFC executive director Datuk Mohamad Salleh Ismail. Their three children run the cattle business.
Allegations of financial impropriety have dogged the company owned by Shahrizat’s family after the Auditor-General revealed last month that the NFC had failed to meet production targets for 2010 despite benefiting from a RM134.72 million soft loan from the government.
The Malaysian Insider understands the NFC started operations in 2008, during Abdullah’s administration. At that time, Muhyiddin was the agriculture and agro-based minister.
The Auditor-General’s Report also criticised the NFC, pointing out that it was now “in a mess”.
The report said production in 2010 was only 3,289 head of cattle or 41.1 per cent of the target set.
But Agriculture Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar responded on October 31 that the project is a success and had met its targets.
He said a total of RM250 million was earmarked for the NFC project and placed in a special loan account in Maybank that was controlled by the Finance Ministry.
He said RM181 million from that account has already been disbursed to NFC based on its claims.
But opposition politicians have alleged that RM10 million of the money for the cattle project had instead been used to buy a luxury condominium in Bangsar, a high-end suburb in the capital city.
I bet there're still many more yet to be uncovered.
Almost every bigshot in Umno are involved in money related scandal and our money are being "looted" out in so many ways.
Seemed to me that UmnoBn is really preparing for a mass exodus out of this country even before GE13 starts.
How could Sharizat not be involved? If she cannot be separated from her family, she cannot be separated or divorced from the family business as well.
It is because of her connections that the project was given to the family and given special and preferential treatment as well. The abuse of funds, powers and positions is just too obvious even a three year old would be able to point out!
Do not defend the indefensible, it does not help, and it may even backfire...
The PM, DPM, Minister of Agriculture, UMNO Youth Chief and now the former PM all came out to defend DS Shahrizat in this moo-moo scandal.
Beware, this could be the biggest corruption cover-up in the making !
MACC cannot count more then 2,000. They have to ask the police to help them count the 250m
MACC is more keen on ikan bilis cases like buying RM2400 ringgit national flag!!!
All involved, directly or indirectly, must go. This is the only honourable thing to do in a truely democratic & mature society. Shahrizat, DPM (remember, he was the Agri Minister then) should go. Former PM Pak Lah should know better to shut up now. He also should go if if is still the PM. This case is so clear cut. Unless all thse UMNOputra have no honour. Now I confirm who to vote in coming GE.