Take action against those responsible for NFC fiasco!

by Tony Pua
Stern action must be taken against the Minister and senior officers responsible for the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) fiasco after strong condemnation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
While we were disappointed that the MACC has failed to find elements of corruption in the RM250 million NFC scandal, we must commend the report put forward by the Commission which detailed elements of where the whole deal went wrong.  It is a report long overdue, but it is certainly better late than never.
The MACC has revealed that the Agriculture Ministry, then under the helm of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, had awarded the National Feedlot Centre project to a company without technical or financial capabilities.
The MACC also pointed out that there was no consideration of conflict of interest between any government officer and the recipient of the government soft loan for the project.
What is perhaps most damning of the report is the finding that the Agriculture Ministry “did not do due diligence” on the company awarded the project. “The Agriculture Ministry failed to select a truly competent company to run NFC as it was selected through limited tender.  The company which was allowed to present their proposals did not have technical background or strong financial standing,” it said.
The above has been known by all Malaysians ever since the scandal first broke out in 2010 and it took MACC nearly 3 years to finally confirm the obvious.
The next question on the minds of all Malaysians is “why” did the Agriculture Ministry award such an important project to a company which “did not have technical background or strong financial standing”.
Such awards, including the RM12.5 billion Port Klang Free Zone project which tends to be the norm rather than the exception in the BN administration leads to the suspicions of cronyism and corruption.  If not cronyism and corruption, then at best it could be excused for incompetence and negligence.
The problem is, the number of Ministers and senior government officials getting away with the excuse of “incompetence and negligence” from doing the same things repeatedly as highlighted annually in the Auditor General’s reports are just one too many.  Hence, a typical Malaysian cannot be blamed for feeling that those responsible for the above misdeeds are either extremely clever in acting incompetent, or so obtuse that they are incurably incompetent.
Regardless of which is which, we call upon the Najib administration to take stern action against these Ministers and officers responsible for causing billions of losses to Malaysians.
In his Budget 2014 speech, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said that the government views seriously the issues highlighted in the 2012 Auditor-General’s Report.  Najib said that the Public Service Department (JPA)  is investigating and taking action on more than 100 cases “for non-compliance on financial procedures including procurement procedures”.
“To enhance confidence of the rakyat as well as uphold the image and credibility of the civil service, a special committee has been established, chaired by the Chief Secretary to the Government, to investigate and take stern action against errant civil servants,” he added.
The time for talk over and Najib must prove, once and for all that Malaysians can still count on him beyond the empty rhetoric.  The MACC has presented its report.  We are also looking forward to the release of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on NFC which has been completed in the last Parliamentary session, and is awaiting the endorsement of the current one.
There is no longer any need for the Prime Minister to set up another “super” committee or taskforce for further investigations, as he has been inclined to do.  Punish the relevant Ministers and senior civil servants responsible for the wanton negligence in the award of the NFC project, as he has promised all Malaysians.

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