Malaysia

Kit Siang wants Shahrizat benched pending NFC probe

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 6 — Lim Kit Siang said today that Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s leave should be extended as the minister is yet to be cleared of any impropriety in the ongoing National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal.

The DAP adviser pointed out that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had not exonerated the Wanita Umno chief while the latter herself had failed to rebut any of the many allegations made against her since the scandal hit media headlines.

“As the purpose of her ministerial leave has not been achieved, shouldn’t her Cabinet leave be extended until a clear answer is available?” Lim (picture) asked in a statement here.

Shahrizat went on a three-week leave from her ministerial duties last month pending investigations into the RM250 million scandal-ridden NFC, a federally funded cattle-farming project that was first highlighted in the Auditor-General’s Report for 2010.

“I hope the MACC will be able to investigate whether or not I was involved in any of the decisions made by the government on the NFC in which my husband, Datuk Seri Dr Mohammad Salleh Ismail, is the executive chairman,” she had said on January 12, when announcing her leave.

The minister, who spent last weekend attacking her accusers, particularly PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli, and insisting the scandal would not affect Umno, is scheduled to resume duties on Wednesday.

In what Lim labelled a “below the belt” hit, Shahrizat told reporters yesterday that the party would be sending the Wanita Umno wing’s trademark red-and-white baju kurung as a gift to her “stalker”, whom she claimed wanted to replace her as Wanita Umno chief. It is believed she was referring to Rafizi, who has been leading PKR’s three-month-long series of exposes into the NFC scandal.

Shahrizat’s words, coupled with the resounding calls for her resignation from those within Umno, including former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Cheras Umno division head Datuk Syed Ali Alhabshee, only further weaken the minister’s case, said Lim.

He added that even MCA president Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek had said during a recent interview that the scandal had been handled poorly, causing the public to perceive the NFC project as “real rotten”.

“Have the four MCA Cabinet ministers the political courage to put things right by insisting at Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting that Shahrizat should extend her ministerial leave until she is cleared of any abuse of power... and, better still, to ask for a full-scale Royal Commission of Inquiry into the NFC scandal?” Lim asked.

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