Malaysia

People should make use of leaders, not vice versa, says Anwar

By Yow Hong Chieh
April 01, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR April 1 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim rebuked what he called Barisan Nasional’s (BN) high-handedness, noting that the nation’s leaders must serve the people and not the other way around. 

The opposition leader (picture) said leaders ought to be “used by the people” who elected them into office rather than make use of the public for their own gain. 

“What is the problem if the people take leaders for a ride? To me, that is not a problem...,” he told over 1,500 DAP supporters at a party fundraising dinner in Bandar Menjalara here. 

“It’s better than making a cow of the people,” he said, referring to claims that cattle-rearing company National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) had misused public funds. 

The Pakatan Rakyat (PR) opposition pact, led by PKR, alleged that NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail and his family used a RM250 million federal loan for expenses unrelated to its stated mandate to secure the nation’s supply of beef. 

These include the acquisition of high-end condominiums in Bangsar and Singapore, as well as the alleged purchase of a Mercedes-Benz CLS350 and two plots of land in Putrajaya. 

The scandal has forced federal minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil, Salleh’s wife, to announce that she will step down from the Cabinet when her term as senator expires on April 8. 

But she will remain as Wanita Umno chief despite calls from senior leaders within her own party to give up the post. 

On March 12, Salleh pleaded not guilty at the Kuala Lumpur Sessions Court to two counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million with regard to the purchase of two condominium units. 

He also pleaded not guilty to two other charges under the Companies Act. 

NFCorp first hit national headlines last year after the Auditor-General reported that it had missed production targets.