Malaysia

Rafizi’s claims more ‘heinous’ than selling out faith, says Shahrizat

By Lisa J. Ariffin
August 10, 2012
Latest Update: August 11, 2012 06:40 am

A supporter greets Shahrizat before the start of her defamation trial in Kuala Lumpur, August 10, 2012.—Picture by Sow Siow FengA supporter greets Shahrizat before the start of her defamation trial in Kuala Lumpur, August 10, 2012.—Picture by Sow Siow FengKUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 ― Allegations of nepotism and profiteering by PKR’s Rafizi Ramli against Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil and her family over the lucrative National Feedlot Centre (NFC) are more “heinous” than a Muslim selling out his faith, the former minister told the High Court here today.

“Which is more heinous, what my client was alleged to have said or your statement that he is a ‘Muslim traitor’?” Rafizi’s lawyer Ranjit Singh asked Shahrizat under cross-examination today.

“What your client said,” answered Shahrizat.

She had used the term on Rafizi following the latter’s exposés on the NFC project.

She had also called him "anak derhaka, pembelot kepada agama, and penghancur bangsa (treacherous son, traitor to the religion and a destroyer of the race)", at the Umno general assembly last November 30, after the PKR strategy director told her to repent.

Under questioning from Rafizi's lawyer, Shahrizat repeated her previous testimony, that she was unaware her husband had bid to operate the national cattle farming scheme through NFC, and that she was not involved in helping her family secure the federal government project.

“I did not know my husband's company had been awarded the project. I only found out somewhere between late 2006 and 2007 when my husband wanted all our children to come home from abroad to work on a  project awarded by government,” she said under oath today, in her RM100 million defamation suit against Rafizi and his PKR colleague, Zuraida Kamaruddin over the NFC scandal.

Rafizi has spearheaded PKR’s exposés on the NFC scandal.Rafizi has spearheaded PKR’s exposés on the NFC scandal.She also said today she was unaware her husband had been awarded the project in 2006, and “only knew about it when he told me some time in 2007”.

“I did not know my husband's company had been awarded the project. I only found out somewhere between late 2006 and 2007 when my husband wanted all our children to come home from abroad to work on a project awarded by government,” she said.

“Only after husband wanted children to come back then only I knew for certain,” she added.

All three of Shahrizat's children Wan Shahinur Izmir, Wan Shahinur Izran, and Wan Izzana were made company directors of NFCorp between December 2006 and November 2007.

Shahrizat previously told the court she was unaware her husband had submitted a bid to operate the national cattle farming scheme through the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp), and was not involved in helping her family secure the federal government project.

Shahrizat, who was a minister when the project was awarded to her family in 2006, relinquished her Cabinet post in early April over the allegations against her family.

The federal opposition has alleged that the directors of National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) ― the firm that runs NFC ― had abused a RM250 million federal cattle farming loan.

NFCorp is owned by Shahrizat’s husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, and the couple’s three children.

Mohamad Salleh and one of the couple’s sons were present at the court hearing before the High Court judge Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera.

Shahrizat, who is suing Rafizi and PKR Wanita chief Zuraida, was represented by prominent lawyer Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah.

Rafizi had previously said that although he had repeatedly raised the question of conflict of interest in the award of the NFC project to Mohamad Salleh’s company when Shahrizat was still in the Cabinet, it was only the NFCorp chairman who was charged in court with wrongdoing.

On May 12, Mohamad Salleh pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to two counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million in NFCorp funds with regards to the purchase of two condominium units.

Last week, Rafizi, who has been at the forefront of the exposé on the scandal, was charged together with a former Public Bank clerk under the Banking and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) for disclosing banking documents related to NFCorp.

Both of them could be fined a maximum of RM3 million or be jailed up to three years if found guilty.

Shahrizat’s suit against Rafizi and Zuraida will resume on September 18.