By Anisah Shukry
KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 — Datuk Seri Najib Razak should suspend Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil as a minister if he is truly sincere about “transforming” Umno, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin said today.
“While we approve of Shahrizat’s resignation, Najib’s delay in taking action is indicative of the double standard he has towards her,” said Zuraida, who is also Ampang Member of Parliament.
Zuraida said Shahrizat should have been suspended as soon as her links to the RM250 million National Feedlot Centre (NFC) scandal became apparent.
“The “suspense” Najib has been building up to is extremely juvenile,” added Zuraida.
“Instead of making announcements for the benefit of the people, his announcements are merely for the benefit of his party.”
Zuraida also questioned the delay in Shahrizat’s resignation to April 8.
“If Shahrizat is sincere in resigning, then she should go before the Speaker and the 222 Members of Parliament at the Dewan Rakyat to prove it,” said Zuraida.
Zuraida also said the RM250 million NFC scandal is just the tip of the iceberg and that PKR will continue to expose Umno-BN’s corruption and misuse of power.
Shahrizat announced yesterday her resignation as women, family and community development minister. She, however, will continue as Wanita Umno chief despite being dogged for over four-and-a-half months by the NFC scandal.
The former Lembah Pantai MP and her family were accused by the opposition of using a RM250 million federal loan meant for the national cattle-rearing scheme to pay for land, property and expenses unrelated to cattle farming.
The cattle-rearing company is headed by her husband, Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail, and their three children.
It was tapped to run the NFC in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan in 2006, when Shahrizat was in Cabinet.
The former Lembah Pantai MP previously resisted calls from within her own party, including by influential former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to quit, stressing that she was “only the wife” of Salleh and had nothing to do with the embattled entity.
NFCorp hit the national headlines after it made it into the Auditor-General’s Report last year for missing production targets.
Police recommended last month that the Attorney-General (A-G) charge NFCorp’s directors for criminal breach of trust, but the A-G has asked the police to conduct further investigations.
Shahrizat was appointed as women, family and community development minister in 2001 and held the post until 2008, when she lost her seat to Nurul Izzah Anwar in the general election.
She was then appointed special advisor to the prime minister on women affairs and social development, before taking up her Cabinet portfolio once more a year later.