Saturday, March 17, 2012
NFC loses supermarket lease in Singapore
S Pathmawathy | 1:02PM Mar 15, 2012
More questions are being piled on the controversial deal struck by the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC), this time for losing its lease for a concept supermarket in Singapore.
The Singapore Straits Times reported today that the lease for the Farmhouse Supermarket in Rochester Mall was cancelled because the premises was not ready on time.
Opposition parliamentarian Tony Pua (DAP-Petaling Jaya Utara), citing a report, said that the 25,000sq-ft supermarket was supposed to be situated at the second floor of the shopping mall.
Pua demanded to know how much had been invested in the retail project and whether the losses incurred will be borne by public-funded cattle-rearing company NFC. The report, quoting a spokesperson of Buona Vista, the owner of Rochester Mall, said that they were in process of engaging new tenants.
“Before this, they said the supermarket has to be established to export beef from NFC although Singapore, as of now, does not allow the import raw meat from Malaysia,” said Pua.
Earlier this month Pua said Farmhouse, which is jointly owned by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s husband Mohamad Salleh Ismail, son Wan Shahinur Izran and daughter Wan Izzana Fatimah Zabedah, will not be able to import raw beef from across borders as it is prohibited under Singapore’s Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) regulations.
However, Mohamad Salleh was reported by the Malaysian Insideras justifying that the supermarket was a means to expand its beef market from cows slaughtered at the National Feedlot Centre, but without specifying whether NFC would be exporting raw or processed beef.
“They had insisted that the supermarket must be set up to export the beef from NFC, now we have the report saying that the lease has been cancelled,” Pua told reporters.
“What we want to know is whether the losses will be covered by Shahrizat’s family or NFC, which is running on taxpayers’ money,” he added.
NFC runs the National Feedlot Centre, which was heavily criticised in the Auditor-General’s Report 2010 for not having achieved its target to reduce Malaysia's beef imports by at least 40 percent.
Shahrizat has also announced that she will relinquish her minister’s post next month over the controversy.
The company was awarded the government contract to run the cattle-rearing project and given a RM250 million soft loan.
Since the report was published, PKR has revealed several documents to back its claim that the soft loan was abused for several dubious investments, which include prime land in Putrajaya and several luxury condominium units in Bangsar, Singapore and Kazakhstan.