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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NFC 'stole' livestock project, claims PKR

A bumiputera entrepreneur company had spent almost RM300,000 when it laid the groundwork for the idea of a meat and livestock industry to the government, but was not called for tender when it came up for implementation, which was subsequently granted to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC).

azlanRevealing this today, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution said this debunked the claim by the government that NFC was the only company that was willing to do the project.

“The tender granted to NFC was not transparent because the original company that mooted the idea was not called to participate in the tender.

“Simply put it, the idea was stolen, and worse still, it used the rakyat’s money,” he said during a press conference at the Parliament lobby today.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Noh Omar had earlier said that an open tender was called but no company was willing totake up the challenge as they lacked experience.

NFC executive chairperson Mohamad Salleh Ismail had admitted that it, too, lacked experience but was learning from the project.

Company’s plan did not require gov’t funds

Speaking at the Parliament lobby this afternoon, Saifuddin presented copies of correspondence between the company and several agencies as evidence, adding that they were close to signing a memorandum of understanding with Mardi.

The name of the company in the letters, however, was blacked out.

“They had discussions up to the Agriculture Ministry, Mardi and the Negeri Sembilan state government... They also sought the cooperation from professor Jerry J Reeves who is a livestock expert from Washington State university in the US,” he said.

Declining to reveal the company’s name, Saifuddin however said that the company’s initial plan would not have required financial aid from the government as opposed to the RM250 million soft loan granted to NFC.

“All they needed was to rent farm land for them in Negri Sembilan.

“They had proposed to use a technology to breed the cows locally through a process using artificial insemination using the sperm and embryo of Wagyu cows. This process is expected to be cheaper in devleoping satellite cattle farms and developing small cattle entrepreneurs compared to the method of importing cows to be fed at feedlot as is done by NFC.”

While acknowledging that this decision was made during the tenure of former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Saifuddin said current Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak must still answer for this.

“Najib had chaired the cabinet committee for high-impact projects and therefore was involved in giving some of the approvals that are related to the project,” he said.

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