5:01PM Nov 1, 2011
Women, Welfare and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil must explain the controversy behind cattle project which is managed by members of her family, which PKR claims the cost has bloated 22 times the projections of the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry.
PKR’s strategic director Rafizi Ramli also insisted that Shahrizat clarify the meat sales from the project to a fine-dining restaurant that is also owned by the latter’s family.
At a press conference at the Parliament lobby today, Rafizi insisted that the project, under the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), has failed in purpose to supply 40 percent local beef demand, instead supplying to a chain of restaurants allegedly owned by Shahrizat’s family.
The original policy states that the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry had estimated RM6.37 million to breed 9,000 cattle with 27.59 percent returns annually.
“However, RM141 million has been spent to rear 8,000 cattle for three years (an average of 3,000 cattle a year) which is 22 times more costly that the ministry’s estimation,” said Rafizi.
Rafizi, who visited the farm in Gemas disguised as a cattle breeder, also said that it was revealed to him by the employees that some 20 cattle slaughtered in a day were delivered to Shahrizat’s fine-dining restaurants namely – Meatworks, Senor Santos and Brawns.
“This is against the original concept behind the mooting of NFC which was to build a comprehensive marketing network and to supply beef to the whole country, and not a private abattoir for a minister’s restaurant,” he slammed.
He claimed that NFC, as an “integrator project”, had failed to implement other functions it was entrusted with such as to develop satellite farming, to supply organic fertiliser and quality beef, among others.
NFC only achieved 5 percent of target
In fact, Rafizi said that NFC’s cattle project, under the 9th Malaysia Plan, only achieved five percent of the annual production target.
Yesterday, Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Minister Noh Omar defended the RM73.64 million project, saying it was a success despite the 2010 Auditor-General’s Report calling it “a mess”.
“NFC should cater at least 60,000 cattle a year which is raised their farm in Gemas, Negri Sembilan. (But) they only managed to rear 8,016 cattle between 2008 and 2010, which makes it less than 3,000 cattle a year,” said Rafizi.
Noh had said yesterday that NFC had reared 8,016 cattle from 2008 to 2010, which makes up an of 2,672 a year.
However, Rafizi said that this is only 4.45 per cent of the 60,000 target and advised Noh to review the entire policy and projection of his ministry before shooting off his mouth.
Rafizi was referring to the policy paper on the project that is still available on the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) website.
“The target set by the Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry through the Veterinary Services Department is higher than Noh’s announcement, which raises concerns whether the minister was lying to confuse the rakyat or he didn’t check NFC’s numbers with his officers,” said Rafizi.
“And yet, the minister (Noh) declared the project a success. He clearly failed to refer to these details. We are not cows, we can count,” he said.
According to him, NFC had also failed to draw up a plan to develop 310 small-scale cattle farmers, who annually produce 600 cattle to increase productivity to 186,000 cattle annually.
“The ministry determined NFC to develop independent commercial farms with a target of producing 30,000 cattle a year. This target was also a failure because the company identified had withdrawn.
“Therefore, the target for the entire cattle breeding scheme developed by NFC is supposed to be 276,000 cattle annually, a far more reasonable target than the 8,000 mentioned by Noh,” said Rafizi.
These explanations proves Noh’s “shallowness” for trying to dupe the people by saying the project was deemed a success, he added.
He also said that as Shahrizat has yet to respond to the allegations, PKR plans to send a delegation to inspect the NFC in Gemas on Thursday.
“The delegation will be led by Sikamat assemblyperson Aminuddin Harun, PKR deputy secretary-general T Kumar and central committee member Fariz Musa,” he said.