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Friday, June 1, 2012

MACC’s cow sense

 The Malaysian Insider

Here’s a question for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC). Who accused Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil of being involved in the process of awarding the RM250 million government soft loan to the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) operated by her family?

Short answer, no one. Long answer, not one person ever did.

So, clearing the Wanita Umno chief of any involvement in the scandal is not even news because she wasn’t accused of that. And if MACC and Shahrizat are crowing about this, they have as much cow sense as the cattle in the Gemas farm.

Let’s be clear why Shahrizat’s name has been dragged into this and the government had to drop her from the Cabinet by not extending her tenure as senator.

Her family is accused of abusing public funds meant for a cattle-rearing project for their own shopping spree of luxury properties in Malaysia and abroad. They had admitted as much, saying the funds were being put to some use while waiting for the Ministry of Agriculture and Agro-based Industries to do its part of the deal.

Of course, it begs the question whether public funds meant for one project can be used in other ways while waiting for something else to happen. The short answer, no. The long answer, of course not.

MACC operations evaluation panel (PPO) chairman Tan Sri Dr Hadenan Abdul Jalil was stating the obvious today when he said that investigations into Shahrizat’s involvement in NFC were now closed.

“We have found she was not involved in the process of awarding the loan,” Hadenan told reporters at a press conference today.

“The decision to award the contract to the company and to award the loan does not involve her,” he added.

Malaysians are just outraged that a company with no experience in cattle farming got the money and instead of working on the project, it used the funds for something else. Because there are farmers out there in Malaysia who could use a bit of that money for their own cattle farms.

Because there are Malaysians out there who get their loan applications rejected even if it is not a government soft loan.

Because it looked like the financial records of the company showed Shahrizat’s family was living the high life from the company that was funded by public money. Perhaps she might have benefitted? We don’t know. Because the MACC didn’t look into that.

They just investigated if she had a role in approving the loan. Why would she be involved? Was she in the particular ministry? Was she in the treasury? Did the matter even come up at any Cabinet meeting where she attended?

Why is the MACC pulling wool over our eyes? Why are they even investigating this aspect which is not even a complaint from anyone?

Why is the MACC spending public funds to get its officers to investigate a non-story?

Why do they have cow sense instead of common sense?

What is the MACC supposed to do? Will they ever do it?

Today’s conclusion by the MACC just shows how little transformation has happened since the anti-graft agency was upgraded into a commission. They should have been a lot smarter than they revealed themselves to be today.

Is there a wonder that people have little faith in the MACC?

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