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Sunday, 5 February 2012

"No, absolutely not" - Shahrizat insists NFC no impact on Umno





Under fire from her own party, Wanita Umno chief Datuk Seri Shahrizat Jalil attempted to silence detractors today by insisting that the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) scandal would have no effect on the ruling party.
“No, absolutely not,” she told reporters at Hospital Kuala Lumpur here when asked if claims of financial misappropriation at the cattle-raising company would hurt Umno.
Shahrizat (picture) said there was a “dichotomy” between her political role as head of the women’s wing and her personal one as the wife of NFCorp chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, who has been linked to the scandal by PKR.
“I stand here today as Wanita Umno chief. You’re not speaking to me as spouse of the CEO or the chairman (of NFCorp),” she said.

“Remember that you’re speaking to me as Wanita chief and minister for women, family and community development. Get that straight.”
Calling the attacks against her politically motivated, Shahrizat stressed that every government and political party the world over has also had to endure similar trials and there is “nothing peculiar” about her current situation.
She also said she was “not a quitter” and would soldier on despite the opposition’s attempts to “gun her down”.
An embattled Shahrizat has faced calls to step down from Umno veterans, including former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and, more recently, her predecessor, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz.
On Thursday, Rafidah, who was Wanita Umno chief from 1999 to 2009, urged Shahrizat to resign from all government and party posts as the latter was now a “problem to the party”.
The long-time international trade and industry minister also stressed that her successor must do this on her own accord rather than wait for the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make the call.
But Shahrizat today refused to comment on Rafidah’s quit call, saying she had her “own values” and would not engage in a war of words with her predecessor.
“I don’t attack people who are older than me. I come from a family where I was taught not to be insolent to anyone, what more those older than me. So my lips are sealed,” she said.
Shahrizat has been repeatedly linked to NFCorp because of her husband’s role as company chairman, and their children’s directorships in the same entity.
The RM250 million publicly-funded cattle-raising scheme was first coined a “mess” in an article in English daily The Star after it made it into the pages of the Attorney-General’s 2010 Report for badly missing production targets.
The term was later repeated by various media organisations to describe NFCorp after PKR launched a series of exposés to show that the project’s funds were being allegedly abused.
PKR had claimed that some RM27 million was used for land and property buys as well as to pay for personal expenses unrelated to cattle farming by Shahrizat and her family.
The company’s assets were frozen after investigations were launched by pthe olice and the national anti-graft body following the exposés.
Shahrizat returns to ministerial duties tomorrow after taking three weeks’ leave to allow the authorities to complete their probe.



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