Media statement by Lim Guan Eng in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 14th February 2012:
Does the PM agrees with his two Cabinet Ministers that Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil repay the RM 250 million NFC?
Does Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak agrees with his 2 Cabinet Ministers that Datuk Seri Sharizat Abdul Jalil repay the RM 250 million National Feedlot(NFC) or cows for condos scandal as well as that the RM100 for school children and RM500 Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) Financial Assistance can be given out yearly?
First Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal had responded 2 days ago to my suggestion that the financial aid of RM100 be given out yearly to school children and RM500 for the poor. I had expressed disappointment that the BN government had only undertaken this initiative during the general election year but not every year.
By giving this financial assistance, the BN is copying from the PR Penang's cash aid social initiatives such as the annual RM 100 Senior Citizens Program. However unlike PR, the BN government had refused to state that this program would be given yearly. Datuk Shafie had said that this can be continued only if the economy continues to grow rapidly.
This is an insincere conditional promise by Datuk Shafie, as any responsible government is duty bound to give financial assistance yearly to the poor. Datuk Shafie must be reminded that it is the government responsibility to ensure economic growth and progress. Why should the poor be punished for the government's poor financial performance?
A government's basic duty to the poor is so essential that it should not be subjected to BN's poor economic management and performance. If Penang PR state government can guarantee yearly financial assistance to the needy, even though Penang's state budget is 200 times smaller than the BN Federal government's budget, there is no reason why BN dare not make such an annual commitment.
Failure by BN to make this annual commitment only lends credibility that this is politically motivated and a naked attempt to buy votes for this year's general elections. Can Datuk Seri Najib make a firm commitment like PR state governments that these financial aid costing RM1.8 billion for 3.4 million households of RM500 each and RM550 million for 5.5 million students of RM100, can be "institutionalised" by being given out yearly?
Does Datuk Seri Najib also agree with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz's suggestion that UMNO Wanita chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil save her Cabinet post by repaying the RM250 million government loan obtained for the scandal-ridden National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project? This is a first ever admission by a Cabinet Minister that not only Sharizat is tied to the cows and condos scandal but that there is wrongdoing.
Nazri added, "She does not have to resign. The main thing is, return the money to the government. But after this, it is better to use open tender to avoid such unwanted incidents." Why should the money be returned if there is no wrongdoing? Even, returning the money is inadequate. Action must be taken against those responsible and Sharizat should also resign. Also why was there no open tender conducted in the first place?
BN must remember that public funds from the RM 250 million loan are used to pay for Shahrizat and her family's personal expenses, purchase of two luxury condominium units in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur. In response to claims that NFCorp had purchased two luxury condominiums worth RM34 million in Singapore's posh Marina Bay Suites, Shahrizat's son Wan Shahinur Izmir had explained recently that the company had decided that it would make better use of the money by investing in property during a break in business operations.
That not just unacceptable but an serious affront to the standards of financial propriety, trust and accountability. Malaysians demand action now. Failure to act shows the failure of the government's National Key Results Area under the Government Transformation Programme(GTP) to fight corruption.
*Lim Guan Eng, DAP Secretary General & MP for Bagan