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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Recall RM181mil loan to NFC, Kit Siang challenges Najib

Recall RM181mil loan to NFC, Kit Siang challenges Najib

As shocking as the revelation about the RM10 million “cattle for condominium” scandal is the self-righteous statement by the Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Datuk Noh Omar aiding and abetting a gross misappropriation of public funds.

Claiming that the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) had not used government funds for the purchase of the RM9.8 million Bangsar luxury condominium, Noh said that once NFC received money from the government, it was thereafter considered the company’s private funds and the government had no say as to how it would be used.

Noh said the government had loaned NFC RM250 million made into a special loan account (SLA) in Maybank that was controlled by the Finance Ministry.

Noh said RM181 million from that account had been disbursed to NFC based on the latter’s claims.

The government only had control of funds that were in the SLA, but had none over how the company spends the money once it has been disbursed, said the minister.

“If the money has been paid to NFC after fulfilling set conditions, the government cannot control what NFC does with it, including purchasing the said condominium, because it is then considered the company’s money.

“Claims made by NFC are related to farm management only, and has absolutely nothing to do with the purchase of condominiums.”

Clearly, something is very wrong about the “set conditions” imposed by the technical committee chaired by the Veterinary Department and the Finance Ministry for the release of the loans to promote cattle production that it could result in “excess funds” leading to the purchase of the Bangsar luxury condomium – nothing to do whatsoever with cattle farm production and management.

Instead of expressing surprise and shock at the misappropriation of the loans for cattle production to purchase a luxury condominium, the Agriculture Minister has instead come out to defend the RM10 million “condominium for cattle” scandal!

There is no word of censure, disapproval or dismay at such blatant misappropriation of public funds by the NFC especially as it involved the family of a Cabinet Minister, which is particularly galling to ordinary Malaysians who are trying to make ends meet.

Is this in fact an reflection that such misuse of public funds, where mega loans are given to companies whether run by family members of Cabinet Ministers or cronies, are often misused for another purpose from the those originally approved, is very commonplace under the present administration?

Let the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and all Cabinet Ministers declare their stand whether they fully agree with Noh Omar that there is nothing wrong or amiss in such misappropriation of public funds such as in the “condominium for cattle” scandal – as it is a common occurrence under the Barisan Nasional government?

In fact, Najib should intervene in the RM10 million “condominium for cattle” scandal by recalling the RM181 million loan to NFC which are not used for the purpose of cattle production if the Prime Minister is serious about all the talk of a national transformation policy with the slogan of “People First, Performance Now”.

- Lim Kit Siang is the DAP MP for Ipoh Timur

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