KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil must now “persuade” her family to pay back the government loan used for the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution said today.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) cleared the former minister in the NFC scandal yesterday, saying she had not been directly involved in the process of awarding the loan to the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp).
Wanita Umno immediately demanded an open apology from PKR leaders Saifuddin (picture), Zuraida Kamaruddin and Rafizi Ramli to their wing chief Shahrizat following the MACC’s announcement, saying the apologies would help restore Shahrizat’s dignity and good reputation.
But Saifuddin said today he saw no reason to apologise, stressing that what mattered right now was ensuring that the NFC loan was paid back in full to the government.
“There is no need for me to apologise. The issue here is the RM250 million loan belonging to the government.
“I urge Shahrizat to persuade her family to pay back the money (owed) to the government... they can let go of the land, restaurants owned by them to start paying back,” Saifuddin told The Malaysian Insider.
Shahrizat has been dogged by allegations of corruption in the awarding of the RM250 million federally-funded cattle-farming project to the NFCorp, a firm owned and operated by her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail and their three children.
The former minister even had to take three weeks’ leave from her ministerial duties to allow the authorities to investigate claims of abuse of power against both her and her family.
The scandal, which has been dominating media headlines for many months since last year, later led to Shahrizat’s stepping down as minister after her senatorship expired on April 8.
Before stepping down, 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.
Yesterday, MACC Operations Evaluation Panel (PPO) chairman Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil revealed that Shahrizat has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the RM250 million NFC scandal.
Hadenen told reporters the MACC has declared investigations into Shahrizat’s involvement closed after finding that the former minister had not been directly involved in the process of awarding the loan to NFCorp.
“The decision to award the contract to the company and to award the loan does not involve her,” he had said.
In his immediate response to the matter earlier today, Rafizi told The Malaysian Insider that the MACC’s investigation methods were suspect as it had cleared Shahrizat without first hauling up her accusers for questioning.
Today, Saifuddin said that the graft busters should start investigating “key officials” linked to the Scorpene submarine scandal.
“I would like to ‘congratulate’ MACC for their work. Now they can look into the Scorpene scandal.
“There have been so many things brought to light, discussed, they have to probe it,” the Machang MP added.