By Raggie Jessy
TTF: On Nov 21, 2011, Lim Kit Siang declared that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was the Cabinet Minister “most responsible for the RM300 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project”. According to the senior Lim, it was Muhyiddin who approved the undertaking while serving as Agriculture Minister in 2006.
In a blog posting, the then DAP secretary-general proposed that Muhyiddin appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain “why the cattle production project has become such a mess and a scandal, beyond the worst fears of the Auditor-General’s report 2010.”
“As Minister directly responsible for the NFC scandals, Muhyiddin should have explained in the past month of deepening controversy over the NFC scandal why government scrutiny, supervision and monitoring of the project and in particular the RM250 million soft loan was so lax or even non-existent as to allow such gross breach of trust and abuse of public funds to take place,” he wrote.
Kit Siang’s outburst followed a Nov 10, 2011 disclosure by Pandan Member of Parliament (MP) Rafizi Ramli that NFCorp paid RM9.8 million to purchase a luxury condominium in Bangsar. The money was said to have originated from National Meat and Livestock Corporation (NMLC), a subsidiary contracted to act as marketing development agent on behalf of NFC.
It all began on Feb 18, 2008. On that day, the government and National Feedlot Centre (NFC) agreed to grant National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd (NFCorp) the mandate to meet goals and objectives pursuant to the National Meat Policy (Ruminant Sector) 2006. The person who made known that agreement was none other than Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who, as Kit Siang correctly stated, was then the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister.
According to Muhyiddin, the project was designed to ramp up the nation’s beef production to 40 per cent by 2015, adding that NFCorp was proposed to lead a consortium tasked with importing cattle into the country.
“I have suggested the setting up of a consortium to import cattle for farms in the country on a continuous basis.
“I have met the biggest Australian beef producer and supplier which is keen to collaborate with Malaysian beef suppliers,” Muhyiddin was reported as saying.
After having identified a 809ha site in Gemas (Negri Sembilan) for cattle rearing, the federal government went ahead and granted a RM250 million soft loan to NFC through an agreement signed on the Dec 6, 2007. Things seemed to go on without a glitch thereon.
That is, until a 2010 Auditor-General’s report revealed that NFC had only achieved 41.1 percent of its production target. As always the case with every other revelation made by the administration of Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Kit Siang seized the opportunity to discredit government by pinning the blame squarely on Muhyiddin.
On Feb 18, 2008, the senior Lim wrote:
“Who else apart from Muhyiddin should bear the full and final responsibility for the NFC “mess” where the objective of the project on cattle production to boost the nation’s beef self-sufficiency could go so wrong as NFC not only failed to meet this target, the RM250 million 2 per cent interest soft loan had been diverted not only to buy two luxury condominiums in Bangsar but also for other dubious transactions as exposed by PKR secretary-general and MP Saifuddin Nasution and PKR chief of strategy Rafizi Ramli.”
Not only was Kit Siang quoting Rafizi when blaming Muhyiddin, the tone with which he did so implied that the Pandan MP had shared documents that came under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) with him (see news item below). Under the circumstances, should the senior Lim not be coming out in defence of Rafizi now that the latter has been sentenced to jail?
After all, wasn’t it he who insisted that Muhyiddin was responsible for the whole ‘mess’? – The Third Force
(Note: Credit goes to Shamsher Singh Thind. It was his Facebook posting that led to my research on this topic)
* The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Malaysia Outlook.
PETALING JAYA: MP Rafizi Ramli’s 30-year jail sentence for exposing confidential banking data on the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) and its chairman is a reminder that there are legal limits to justice crusaders, Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians said today.
Umno MP for Pulai Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the law is clear and those who break it must pay the penalty.
“Let this be a firm reminder that there is no immunity from prosecution for criminal acts whether one is a member of the public or an elected representative.
“Holding office does not mean that you have a mandate to break the law to push this kind of ‘justice’. Such behaviour is unbecoming of an MP,” he told Malay Mail when contacted.
Nur Jazlan also said today’s judgment proves the courts are impartial in delivering justice as even those who hold public office will be punished when they break the law.
“It does not matter who is involved. If there is wrongdoing, the public can rest assured that the legal system will move forward without any political interference.
“This was not a political issue as some have claimed and indeed as some are still claiming. The bottom line is that he broke the law in obtaining and making public information protected under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act 1989,” the deputy home minister said.
Nur Jazlan urged members of the public to think twice before violating information protection Acts including the Official Secrets Act, pointing out that the bank officer who had passed the information to Rafizi had also received the same sentence.
“Not to be unsympathetic, but this case has at least raised awareness on the importance of complying with the law and of the danger in passing on protected information on to any party. The courts have acted justly in passing this sentence.
“There will be no other outcome for those breaking the law. There is nothing to gain from obtaining and disseminating such information,” he said.
BN strategic communications deputy director Eric See-To said the Pandan MP did not deserve the public’s sympathy, urging the public not to fall for his “sob story”.
“The law is the law. While no one wants to see anyone go to jail, it’s important to set Rafizi;s story straight on what actually happened.
“Essentially, Rafizi had broken the BAFIA act to expose private bank statements of NFC to make an allegation that was later proven by the court to be false,” he said.
See-To said Rafizi had taken advantage of the case for his own personal fame and gain and attempted to play the “hero” for exposing alleged wrongdoing.
“Due to this, Rafizi rose out of obscurity to become a household name. He was then given the Pandan parliament seat to run in GE13, which he won and has drawn an RM29,000 monthly tax-free salary ever since.
“Using his fame, he has also collected millions in donation from the public where some of the money was later traced to pay for a service fee for a Rafizi-owned company supplying manpower to Invoke,” he said.
He also said that Rafizi was not even the first person to expose the NFC issue, asserting that it was the ruling BN government that had done so.
“The 2010 Auditor-General’s Report saying that NFC had failed to comply with the objectives of its formation after a soft loan of RM250 million was given by the government.
“At the time of the March 2012 ‘expose’ by Rafizi, the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee was already examining the NFC issue based on what was revealed in the AG report,” he told Malay Mail.
Earlier today, the Sessions Court found PKR lawmaker Rafizi guilty of violating Section 97(1) of the BAFIA by exposing Public Bank confidential customer-profile documents comprising balance summaries relating to the NFC, National Meat and Livestock Sdn Bhd, Agroscience Industries Sdn Bhd and NFC chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail to media consultant Yusuf Abdul Alim and a local newspaper reporter in 2012.
He was sentenced to two-and-a-half-years in jail instead of the maximum penalty of three years, or a maximum fine of RM3 million or both provided by Section 103(1)(a) of the BAFIA.
Former Public Bank clerk Johari Mohamad, 47, who was charged with abetting Rafizi in the crime, was also sentenced to 30 months in jail.
However, the court stayed their sentence pending their appeal.
Source: Malay Mail Online