KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Wanita PKR chief Zuraida Kamaruddin piled pressure today on Datuk Seri Najib Razak to sack Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil over the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) mess, saying it would be Barisan Nasional’s (BN) only “salvation” from the scandal.
But the Ampang MP said such a move would also force Najib to take similar action against several other Cabinet ministers linked to the project and those currently engulfed in other scandals.
“If Shahrizat is asked to go, it would not stop there because many others have been implicated as well like (Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Minister Datuk Seri) Nor Omar.
“But if they do not terminate her (Shahrizat), it would be damaging as well,” she told a press conference at her service centre here.
The NFC scandal, added Zuraida (picture), had placed Najib in a Catch-22 situation.
Apart from Noh, opposition lawmakers have also repeatedly pointed fingers at deputy prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was the agriculture minister at the time the project was mooted.
Najib is also facing pressure for controversies linked to two other Cabinet ministers, namely Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom for allegedly abusing zakat funds and Datuk Awang Adek Husin, who recently admitted to receiving some financial contributions using a personal account.
“Yes, Najib will face pressure to take action in these other cases if he sacks Shahrizat. But there is a lesser risk for him (Najib) to ask her (Shahrizat) to go. There will be some salvation there because he had the guts to ask her to leave,” Zuraida said.
Zuraida also predicted that any punishment against those responsible for the NFC would result in more whistleblowers from the public coming forward with more incriminating information on BN’s leaders.
She scoffed at Shahrizat’s decision to take a three-week leave of absence from her duties, saying it was too little too late for the minister.
Shahrizat, said Zuraida, should have made the decision months earlier, when the NFC scandal was first highlighted in the media.
“The present situation is like rice having turned into porridge, and porridge that has gone bad and only suitable for waste disposal.
“I suggest that Shahrizat respectfully resigns without allowing herself to be used for exploitation by the Umno-BN government,” she said.
Other than Zuraida, other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have agreed that Shahrizat should step down from her duties entirely due to her alleged involvement in the NFC project, which the latter has denied.
The senior minister’s husband and children operate the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), which handles the RM250 million federally-funded cattle-farming project.
Police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission are probing the NFC for possible criminal breach of trust following PKR’s allegations that millions in federal funds meant for the cattle-raising scheme had been used to purchase land and property unrelated to cattle farming.
The opposition party first latched onto the issue after the NFC, which lists all three of Shahrizat’s children as directors, made it into last year’s Auditor-General’s Report for failing to meet production targets.
PKR has since made several revelations relating to the scandal, including NFC’s purchase of two luxury condominium units in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur, and the alleged use of project funds to pay for Shahrizat and her family’s personal expenses.