As UMNO tried to defend the failed NFC, portraying it as a success through the media, one can make an easy conclusion from the video clip that was aired via the UMNO television companies that showed the only herd of cows they had in the entire 5,000 acre farm. It is quite glaring that all of them are skinny; the cows are obviously underfed even with a RM250 million soft loan.
Why did the other bidder for the project Lamberts Agricultural Trade (M) Sdn Bhd, an Australian based company, withdraw from the scheme? Auditor-General Ambrin Buang said the ministry’s initial main operator Lamberts Agricultural Trade (M) Sdn Bhd (LAT) had backed out of the project, a move that contributed to the dismal performance of the NFC in failing to train 130 farmers for the project.
LAT was also the consultant to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA). It had proposed a grand ambition to the Malaysian government to transform the local livestock industry into a modern, competitive and sustainable growth sector. The ultimate aim was to ensure food security and to complement Malaysia's export revenue, adding to its balance of trade.
It was during Abdullah Badawi’s term as premier that the whole money-making scheme was hatched and implemented. Khairy was then the head of the fourth-floor goons; where the idea could have been promoted by him after the Ministry of Agriculture then headed by Muhyiddin Yassin envisioned it.
Muhyiddin did visit the NFC in Gemas to find out what was going on with the project on 23rd June 2011. At the farm, distinguished visitors are told that "It is a misconception that agriculture is not profitable. We also wanted to show Malaysia is capable of producing high quality beef," Malay Mali had reported NFC chief executive officer Izran Salleh as saying. Izran, along with his brother Izmir and sister Izzana, had set up their cattle farm on a 5,000-acre site in Gemas, Negri Sembilan in 2008.
Umno Women's chief Shahrizat Jalil, who is now a senator and appointed minister in the Najib administration, was at that time overshadowed by Wanita veteran Rafidah Aziz aka Mrs AP or Authorised Permits (for motor vehicles). To be under the shadow of such a tough and bossy Rafidah is not easy at all.
For Shahrizat(left), it was indeed the lowest ebb of her political life; nothing she did turned out right. She was defeated by PKR's Nurul Izzah Anwar in her long-held Lembah Pantai parliamentary seat during the 2008 general election. She also no longer held much interest in her old law firm. Her husband, Salleh Ismail, was also at the end of his academic and research career while their three young children had not started out on their own careers yet.
Indeed, the situation was so bad for Shahrizat that she had to approach her boss Badawi for some kind of help. She did not know it then but she was going to be very fortunate.
When Shahrizat approached Badawi, she was 'naturally' referred to Khairy, who was notoriously possessive in wanting to screen anyone who wanted to see his dad-in-law first.
In a flash, Khairy saw an opportunity to wave his powerful magic wand and kill two cows with one stone, so to speak. The MoA under Muhyiddin was then in the midst of embarking on an agricultural 'transformation'; yes, the 'T' word was popular in Putrajaya even before Najib, the current PM, stole it for his Government Transformation Programme and Economic Transformation Programme.
So it was that Badawi was said to have asked Khairy(left) to help Shahrizat by getting her involved in the NFC project. When Khairy allegedly called Muhyiddin, the then Agriculture minister, he was more than willing to help because this kind of favour to Khairy and Badawi could only boost his political future and add to his war chest of favors owed.
According to the Umno grapevine, Khairy decided that the agricultural transformation plan must come on sooner than planned so as to please his father-in-law. He instructed the “scheme” to be implemented in his home-base state of Negeri Sembilan so as to bring about some development there. He awarded it to Shahrizat’s husband taking the proposal from LAT as the project's framework.
It was not a bad choice actually because the Gemas-Gemencheh area already had some sort cattle farming activities going on. Lamberts Agricultural Trade (M) Sdn Bhd knew what was coming and there was no need for them to further waste money, effort and time doing farming business in Malaysia anymore; so they 'killed the dog' and quickly backed out.
Now, can Malaysian figure out why NFC was doomed from the start. The whole idea behind the NFC was not at all what was initially envisioned. Sad to say, what was actually eventually floated was all about politics, political survival and money - lots of money.
The NFC was the ultimate tool; a scheme within a larger scheme where power was wielded and money changed hands. As usual, Mr Oxford graduate Khairy Jamaluddin thought he had all corners covered. But not all the power in the world can turn mutton into lamb.
Shahrizat and her family are really fortunate to have Najib as the Prime Minister. Shahrizat is also aware that the NFC will be defended at all costs because it will be UMNO’s quagmire. Delegates attending the December annual assembly will surely demand to know how did the project end up being given to her family?
Now everyone is trying to distance himself or herself from the debacle. Noh Omar recently informed us that the RM250 million loan was not even referred to the Cabinet. But which Cabinet? The Badawi Cabinet or the Najib Cabinet?
This entire episode has exposed the true colours of UMNO-BN and the Malaysian ministers. Unfortuntely, the UMNO-BN government has no idea on how to salvage the NFC or what to do with it. The easy thing to do which is the norm for the UMNO-BN government is to bail NFC out.
Would this mean Shahrizat's family would be RM250 million richer and the rakyat RM250 million poorer?
NFC failed because it was not implemented in full to ensure success. Only a 'quickie' was pushed through to give an aura of work-being-done.
Just the feedlot part of the complex plan was hastily worked out under the guise of “Projek Berimpak Tinggi” or High Impact Project. It was implemented without much thought and proper planning; the NFC was doomed from the start.
Now UMNO has to bear the brunt of the impact of its less than perfect leaders. Shahrizat is being accused of letting everyone down and being very ungrateful for getting both Badawi and Khairy into hot soup. It is sad because such thinking only goes to show how far gone UMNO is on the down road to perdition. Stealing and free-for-all corruption is regarded as its right. - Nawawi Mohamad
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Paya terbaru Umno: NFC – cerita penuh yang belum didedahkan