Monday, November 14, 2011

National protest if Shahrizat does not resign over NFC funds mismanagement

The Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) women's wing has threatened to hold a nationwide protest if Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil does not take accountability and resign over the alleged mismanagement of funds in the National Feedlot Corp (NFC).

PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamarudin (PKR-Ampang) said the party was giving Shahrizat one-week to own up and take accountability on the matter as the company is wholly-owned by her family.

She said PKR will be lodging a police report and is not discounting another report to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) if Shahrizat, who is Umno Wanita chief, does not respond.

“Shahrizat should be accountable for the (alleged) mismanagement of funds in NFC and set the example by being the first to resign,” Zuraida said at the parliament lobby, today.

Urging for Shahrizat to step up and not "tarnish the image" of Malaysian women in general, she said the PKR women's wing would hold a nationwide protest to pressure Shahrizat and the government to swiftly act on this.

Zuraida also slammed Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Noh Omar, who had reportedly said that NFC is a private company and has nothing to do with the government, saying that the Finance Ministry has a “golden share” in NFC as confirmed by the Companies Commission Malaysia.

Shahrizat and her family has been entangled in the NFC scandal, where the government’s RM250 million soft loan given for a cattle farming project under NFC, was used to purchase a RM9.8 million worth luxury condominium in One Menerung, Bangsar.

Last week, PKR had also alleged that over RM84 million was siphoned off from NFC to companies controlled by Shahrizat’s husband Datuk Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail and her children Izran Mohamad Salleh and Izmir Mohamad Salleh.

However, Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) – a staunch defender – openly came out to respond to the scandal since it had been highlighted by PKR as well as criticised in the Auditor-General’s report released last month.

Khairy, on Friday, claimed that the condominium was an “investment” strategy for NFC when the National Meat and Livestocks Corporation (NMLC) – a company wholly-owned by Shahrizat's family – found itself with excess funds.

Describing Khairy’s claim as “crazy”, PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli said it is does not make sense for NFC to invest in a luxury condominium, when market value for luxury real estate properties is depreciating.

He said also that NFC should place the excess funds in “liquid investments like the money or equity markets” instead of property.

“It’s a crazy decision. It is unheard of or uncommon and bizarre to invest in a luxury condominium as a short-term investment especially in a soft market,” he told the same press conference.

Citing the Valuation and Property Services Department (JPPH), Rafizi said 66,328 luxury condominiums remained unsold at the end of 2010.

“JPPH found that 20% of condominiums valued at RM1 million or more built in the third quarter of this year were unsold, amounting to a total of RM549 million.

“International real estate experts DTZ Research also said on Nov 10 that ‘the risk of falling prices for luxury properties will continue to increase’ and ‘the oversupply of luxury properties will lower rental yields,” he said.

Pointing out Khairy’s “high-interest” is defending Shahrizat, Rafizi had also challenged Khairy to an open debate “anywhere and anytime” he prefers on the NFC scandal.

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