Malaysia

Don’t love your post too much, Dr M tells Shahrizat

By Clara Chooi
February 15, 2012

Shahrizat (centre) should consider the effects of the NFC scandal on Umno, advised Dr Mahathir. — Reuters picShahrizat (centre) should consider the effects of the NFC scandal on Umno, advised Dr Mahathir. — Reuters picSERDANG, Feb 15 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today told minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil not to “love” her post to the point of refusing to part with it even if this were to be good for Umno.

The former prime minister, who late last year expressed support for Shahrizat’s resignation over the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal, pointed out to the senator that she would eventually have to part with her post.

“We must always think about the problems caused to the party... that is why when I was there (in Umno) for so long and people were getting bored, I decided to resign.

Dr Mahathir: All leaders must eventually go.Dr Mahathir: All leaders must eventually go.“So do not love your post so much that you refuse completely to part with it... Eventually, we will have to part with it,” he told reporters after a function at Perdana University here.

Dr Mahathir, who is said to still wield strong influence in Umno, noted that difficult actions must sometimes be taken for the good of the party.

“But, it’s up to her what decision she wants to make,” he said.

Shahrizat has faced increasing pressure after refusing to relinquish her government post over alleged links to the scandalised RM250 million federally-funded NFC scheme.

Rumours have been circulating that the senior politician would tender her resignation to Cabinet today but a minister confirmed with The Malaysian Insider that she did not.

The former Lembah Pantai MP had appeared to gain rousing support from both the Youth and her Wanita wing of Umno during the party’s annual general meeting last year after she denied any wrongdoing in the NFC scandal.

Despite this, other leaders apart from Dr Mahathir, such as Umno MP Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin, have called for the women, family and community development minister to step down instead of “troubling us.”

PKR has repeatedly attacked the project with various allegations surrounding the “loans” of over RM84 million given by the NFC to companies owned by Shahrizat’s family, including RM13.8 million for two luxury condominiums in Bangsar.

The opposition party also pointed out that RM5 million had been spent on the purchases of a Mercedes-Benz, land in Putrajaya and disbursement of RM588,585 in cash to companies belonging to her family. This further included over RM455,000 issued to tour agency Impian Global Network Services.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said yesterday that the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), which is run by Shahrizat’s family, had breached its loan conditions for the NFC with the federal government.

Nazri said there was “constructive breach of trust”.Nazri said there was “constructive breach of trust”.“In a way, there has been a constructive breach of trust. The money, which was meant for the cattle industry, was used for something else.

“The money was specifically given out based on a project given to NFCorp, that it could raise cattle and sell (it) at a cheaper price,” Nazri told reporters during a press conference.

“The loan was given just for that. If you use the money for something else, you don’t need to be a lawyer to see that there is a breach of trust; it’s so simple,” said the de facto law minister.

The NFC first hit the headlines following last year’s Auditor-General’s Report, and has continued to hog the limelight after it was linked to Shahrizat and her family.

The senator applied for three weeks’ leave from her ministerial duties last month after new allegations of bribery surfaced. She has since returned to work.

Last Wednesday, she was called in for questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced last month Putrajaya would appoint an auditor to scrutinise NFCorp’s books in light of accusations made against the company but dismissed calls for a royal commission of inquiry into the NFC.