This despite the company and the individual concerned having had no expertise in the business - a feedlot agricultural venture - it had gone into.
"A feedlot project costing around RM250 million involving the husband and son of a federal minister in the premier's cabinet," alleged opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim when debating the 2012 Budget Bill in Parliament today.
While the claim in itself is not new, said Anwar, who had asked the same question in the 2010 parliamentary session which he claimed was never answered by the prime minister, he said that this shows a pattern of how the government's policies seems to favour the rich and the well-connected.
In his retort to Anwar, Azmi Khalid (BN-Padang Besar) said that those awarded the RM250 million soft loan deserved the award.
"But they are experts," he said in coming to the government's defence.
After the lunch break, Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusof reignited the issue in the House by asking for further explanation.
"The money was approved by the husband of the minister concerned, while the company belonged to their son.
"If there is any expertise at all, I believe it is in the misappropriation of funds," he alleged.
Yusmadi (right) also said that the amount of money involved is quite substantial and it is of no small concern that the problem has not yet been addressed by the government.
To this, Anwar that information on the possible conflict of interest was already out in the open, yet the government has remained silent and no action has been taken.
As such, he said this can only bring about serious concerns over the government's sincerity in helping farmers and herders with the funds, which is supposed to help boost national food production.
"In the end it only benefits the super-rich cronies," Anwar lamented.
Meanwhile,the proposed upward revision of allowances and facilities for Members of Parliament will be withdrawn due to resistance from the opposition, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz said.
He said Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah has been informed of this, and that Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Abdul Razak would be briefed on the matter on Friday.
The proposal would have cost RM30 million to implement, if passed under Budget 2012, which was tabled in the Dewan Rakyat last Friday.
Nazri said Najib, persuaded by the argument and on the basis that it was a proposal to which all parties had agreed, allocated the funds “in good faith” and stated it in the Budget 2012 speech.
“I believe many MPs were elated that day ... such an increase cannot make us rich, but it only means better service for our constituents and constituencies,” said Nazri.
“However, (subsequent) statements by (Opposition Leader) Anwar (Ibrahim), (DAP secretary-general) Lim Guan Eng, (PKR deputy president) Azmin Ali, (PAS vice-president) Salahuddin Ayub and Dzulkefly Ahmad - are proof that I’m not able to get the support of the opposition, as I (had) promised the PM ...”
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