Media conference statement by Lim Kit Siang in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday, 18th January 2012:
NFC RCI should also inquire into Najib’s role as Chairman of High-Impact Committee which approved project in 2006
UMNO insiders are worried that the RM300 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) “cattle condo” scandal may cost UMNO very dearly, causing it to lose more than 30 parliamentary seats in the general elections if this scandal is not handled and resolved in a quick and satisfactory manner.
This is why I do not expect the UMNO Wanita Chairman and Minister for Women, Family and Welfare Development, Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to return to Cabinet at the end of her three-week leave (one week gone with two weeks left) on Feb. 3, 2012.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Datuk Seri Najib Razak has said that he had discussed with Shahrizat her decision to take three-weeks leave from her ministerial duties and that she was willing to be “investigated fully”.
Among the teeming questions in Malaysian minds about the RM300 million NFC “cattle condo” scandal is why it had taken Shahrizat six months to go on ministerial leave to enable full investigations into the NFC scandal to be conducted, as the Auditor-General’s 2010 report which highlighted the NFC “mess” was completed and made available to the Cabinet and all Ministries in early June last year. The Auditor-General’s 2010 Accounts Report was deliberately held back in Parliament until the last week of October.
Similarly, why had the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) failed to leap into action as far back as last June when it first received copies of the Auditor-General’s Report 2010 but had initially taken the untenable position that the NFC scandal was a police matter and falls outside its purview – until the public heat on MACC became so unbearable that the anti-corruption commission had to do an about-turn to investigate the scandal.
This is why claims by MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamad yesterday that MACC would investigate all NFC allegations “without fear or favour, even if they involve high-profile individuals” lack credibility.
Has the MACC already interrogated not only Shahrizat but also other Cabinet Ministers involved in the decision-making process approving the NFC project, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and even the Prime Minister himself?
This is why the demand for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the NFC “cattle condo” scandal is so insistent and irresistible, for there is just no public confidence that full justice, accountability and transparency could result from the present law enforcement agencies, whether the MACC or police.
Under the circumstances, Shahrizat’s return to Cabinet on Feb. 3 will only reinforce public disillusionment about the independence, integrity and professionalism of the key law enforcement agencies, giving a fatal blow to Najib, UMNO and Barisan Nasional in the forthcoming 13th general elections.
One immediate consequence of such public disillusionment will see UMNO losing even more than the 30 parliamentary seats currently estimated, as well as making it impossible for UMNO to defend several state governments, especially Negri Sembilan.
Already MCA and Gerakan leaders are openly admitting that UMNO has become incorrigibly rotten and corrupt, but pleading that there is nothing the other Barisan Nasional component could do to check such UMNO corruption – and such speeches by MCA and Gerakan leaders are beginning to find their way to the Internet.
This is why a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the NFC “cattle condo” scandal cannot be avoided, or it would become a major issue in the forthcoming general elections.
Najib should bow to the inevitable and set up a RCI into the NFC scandal, which should not only inquire into the role of the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister at the relevant time, but also inquire into Najib’s role as Chairman of High-Impact Committee which approved the project in 2006 as well as why MACC and the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) have been so tardy and reluctant to launch immediate investigations into the corrupt malpractices involved.
Most important of all, the RCI should probe into the many other similar NFCorp scandals littered all over the government, but presently “hidden” from public view whether in the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry or other Ministries in the name to promoting high-impact projects but ending up in only benefitting a handful of UMNO cronies.
*Lim Kit Siang, DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timor