Set up RCI on NFC or pay price, Kit Siang tells Najib
KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — DAP’s Lim Kit Siang today urged the prime minister to set up a royal panel to investigate all top-ranking government officials linked to the national cattle project scandal, warning that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government may pay dearly otherwise.
The veteran lawmaker said Datuk Seri Najib Razak had little choice but to set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) into the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) scandal as the public had little confidence that their many questions would be fully answered by the authorities, be it the police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) or Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC).“Najib should bow to the inevitable and set up an RCI into the NFC scandal ... [or] it [will] become a major issue in the forthcoming general elections,” the Ipoh-Timur MP said in a statement today.
He pointed out the public wanted to know why it took six months before law enforcers started investigations into the RM250 million project when the Auditor-General had reported the project had failed to meet production targets in his 2010 report.
Lim said the audit report was available to Cabinet members and all ministries as early as June last year but was “deliberately held back in Parliament until the last week of October 2011.”
The publicly-funded cattle farming project hit national headlines following the Auditor-General’s 2010 report last year and continued to hog the limelight after it was linked to minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s family.
The senior minister’s husband and children run the corporation.
Lim said today the commission must also investigate Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who was agriculture and agro-based minister in charge of awarding the project at the time, and also Najib, because he has chaired the High Impact Project Committee, a key government panel that approved the project in 2006.“Has the MACC already interrogated not only Shahrizat but also other Cabinet ministers involved in the decision-making process approving the NFC project, including the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and even the prime minister himself?” the DAP advisor asked.
The trio he named are all senior politicians in Umno, the lynchpin party in the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition. Shahrizat is Wanita chief while Muhyiddin and Najib hold the posts of party deputy and president respectively.
“Most important of all, the RCI should probe the many other similar NFCorp scandals littered all over the government, but presently ‘hidden’ from public view,” he stressed, noting that the high-impact projects may be seen to benefit only a select few in Umno.
Lim warned Najib that the public were becoming disillusioned with Umno and that could result in Umno “losing even more than the 30 parliamentary seats currently estimated, as well as making it impossible for Umno to defend several state governments, especially Negri Sembilan”.
He added that BN partners, MCA and Gerakan, “are openly admitting that Umno has become incorrigibly rotten and corrupt” and that their speeches indicating as such have been uploaded online.
Police and the MACC 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 were used to purchase land and property unrelated to cattle farming.