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Saturday, November 19, 2011

NFC scandal: Entire cabinet in the dock

NFC supremo should appear before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee to put to rest all questions of impropriety, accountability and integrity.

COMMENT

By Lim Kit Siang

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has said that it was up to the public whether they wanted to accept the explanation given for the National Feedlot Corporation’s (NFC) “cattle condo” scandal.

Saying that the government “already knows the facts”, Muhyiddin had this to say after the NFC executive chairman Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail had broken his three-week silence on the “cattle condo” scandal:

“We will leave that to the people to decide whether to accept the NFC’s explanation or not because the NFC has explained each issue that has surfaced.

“For us, the government, we know the truth. We don’t buy stories made up by the Opposition.”

Muhyiddin cannot be more wrong.

Malaysians not only want to hear what the NFC has got to say, but also what the government and in particular the ministers directly involved in the RM300 million NFC scandal have got to say.

For instance, Muhyiddin was the Agriculture Minister who approved the RM300 million NFC project in 2006.

Would Muhyiddin have said in 2006 when approving the NFC project then that it was legally, morally and ethically proper for NFC to use 2%-interest RM250 million soft-loan to buy condos?

Questions for ministers

In fact, that is a question every Cabinet minister must now answer, especially as Muhyiddin claims that the government “knows the truth”.

They must also answer if they thought this is not criminal breach of trust, and if it is not a gross abuse of powers and public funds.

Muhyiddin should realise that it is not just the NFC executive chairman Salleh and his wife, the Women, Family and Community Development minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who are in the dock.

Muhyiddin and the entire present Cabinet are also in the dock over the NFC “cattle condo” scandal!

It is clear that the Auditor-General was unaware of the NFC’s “cattle condo” scandals when conducting audit of the National Feedlot Centre project from January to March 2011.

Otherwise his strictures would be more scathing than describing it as a “mess”.

As Salleh has said that NFC has nothing to hide, he should volunteer to appear before the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) which is meeting on Wednesday on the NFC issue, to put to rest all questions of impropriety, accountability and integrity swirling about the National Feedlot Centre and the NFC.

Lim Kit Siang in the DAP Parliamentary Leader and MP for Ipoh Timor.

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