MACC wants ministers’ families to declare ties
PUTRAJAYA, June 1 — The National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal has prompted the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to suggest today that family members of political leaders in the administration declare their relationship when applying for government loans.
The deputy head of the anti-graft body’s prevention commission, Datuk Satinah Sutan, said such a declaration — which would involve all ministers, deputy ministers and each ministry’s parliamentary and political secretaries — would create “greater transparency.”
“When there is no transparency, then misconceptions arise such as in the NFC case. Suspicions arise because of the lack of transparency. Corruption only occurs when there is no transparency,” she told a press conference here.
However, she refused to say if Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family, who is alleged to have abused a RM250 million loan awarded to them when she was still in the Cabinet, had neglected to declare their ties.
“This is under investigations. The operations panel has already spoken so I don’t want to interfere,” she said, referring to the announcement yesterday that the Wanita Umno chief had been cleared of wrongdoing in the NFC scandal.
The MACC said yesterday the former senator had not been directly involved in the process of awarding the loan to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), a company owned by her family.
Shahrizat has been dogged by allegations of corruption in the awarding of the RM250 million federally-funded cattle farming project to NFCorp, a firm owned and operated by her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail and three children.
The former minister had been forced to take three weeks’ leave from her ministerial duties to allow the authorities to investigate claims of abuse and power against both her and her family.
The scandal, which has been dominating media headlines since last year, later led to Shahrizat stepping down as minister after her senatorship expired on April 8.
Prior to that, her husband Mohamad Salleh was charged with criminal breach of trust and violating the Companies Act in relation to RM49 million in federal funds given to NFCorp last March 12.
In his immediate response to the matter earlier today, Rafizi told The Malaysian Insider that the MACC’s investigation methods were suspect as they had cleared Shahrizat without first hauling up her accusers for questioning.
Satinah added today that the MACC’s suggestion would apply to the government’s code of ethics but would not be made into law, giving Putrajaya’s disciplinary board the power to act if members of the administration or their family members failed to adhere to the proposed requirement.