PKR demands answers over failure of National Feedlot Corporation
PETALING JAYA, Oct 25 — PKR’s women wing demanded today an explanation from Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil and also the deputy prime minister for the failure of a government-linked company linked to the Women, Family and Community Development minister’s family.
PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin claimed that the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) which was given a soft loan of RM250 million and a 5,000 acre land in Gemas, Negri Sembilan failed to meet its goal of providing 40 per cent of the country’s demand for beef.
Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, is the chairman of NFC, while her daughter, Izzana Salleh, is the executive director in charge of marketing and operations.
“This project was launched by the government to cut down on importing food which played a big role in the increase in food prices. However, a big part of the fund for farming and food production projects to reduce the dependence on imports have not been met and were distorted, resulting in food import to reach RM30 billion a year until the end of 2010,” she told reporters here at the PKR headquarters.
She said Shahrizat (picture), as a minister linked to this project, as well as Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who was once the minister in charge, cannot continue to be silent.
“The people need an immediate explanation about the failure of the national project which has cost such a big amount of money,” she said.
Zuraid said they are both given until the next Monday to explain and threatened to organise a visit to the National Feedlot Centre with the media, if they chose not to respond.
Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Seri Azmi Khalid had said yesterday that PAC will look into NFC, which is under the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries, after chairing the financial oversight body’s first meeting for this session at the Parliament.
According to NFC’s web site, as a High Impact Project under Ninth Malaysia Plan, the National Feedlot Centre project is instrumental in attaining the 40 per cent self sufficiency for beef production by 2010.
Zuraida claimed however that during an unofficial visit to the centre in Gemas, Negri Sembilan on October 20, they found out that there are only about 1,000 cows reared at a time, and there are only about 20 cows slaughtered each day.
She pointed out that Malaysians consume about 162,357 tonne of beef a year, and only about 0.6 per cent of the demand is met. The goal was to meet 40 per cent of the demand. Roughly 1,500 cows need to be slaughtered each day, as compared to the 20 a day now, she said.
“The early findings by PKR showed that this project has failed although it has taken an enormous amount of the people’s money and the gift of a 5,000 acre land. In fact, there are smaller scale farmers and with a bigger and more effective operation without any aid from the government,” she said.
The Ampang MP said the RM250 million worth of soft loan which was given to the company for the project, was “as good as a grant” because if the company cannot come up with the payment, then the loan will just default.
The quarter of a billion Ringgit was from a RM1.2 billion national fund set up to ensure that Malaysia becomes self-sufficient in food and livestock production, the project supposed to ensure Malaysia becomes self-sufficient in beef production by this year, but as the opposition claimed, with nothing to show thus far.