KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — Lies about the use of the National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) funds spread by opposition politicians destroyed his family and business, the husband of ex-minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul, said at a defamation hearing today.
Datuk Seri Dr Mohamad Salleh Ismail, the executive chairman of NFCorp is suing opposition MP Nurul Izzah Anwar and her party, PKR, for alleging that he had misused a multi-million federal loan for a cattle-farming project to obtain bank loans to buy eight office properties.
“It was lie, lie and lie,” Mohamad Salleh told the High Court today, referring to the allegations made in a March 7, 2012 press conference by PKR vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar and then PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli.
Mohamad Salleh disputed the claim that money from the federal loan deposited in Public Bank was used as leverage to borrow from the same bank for the multi-million purchase of the high-end KL Eco City units.
“I didn’t borrow any money from Public Bank for purchase of Ecocity and therefore there was no need to collaterise government loan because I didn’t borrow money.
“But because of that slander, five days after that, my wife had to resign, one day after that I was charged and most importantly, two days after that, all of the money in Public Bank was seized by the government,” the 66-year-old told the court.
He was charged with two counts of criminal breach of trust and two counts of violating the Companies Act.
Later, Mohamad Salleh also claimed that the “lie” had destroyed his entire family and his business.
“I am very sad that my project was completely destroyed and my family was also destroyed and the whole business that I did with huge potential was destroyed by opposition lies and everyone seems to be convinced by the look of (news) articles ,” he said.
He claimed the federal opposition had attempted to use the false allegations to “attack” and “discredit” Shahrizat ahead of the 2013 general elections held on May 5.
In his witness statement filed in court, Mohamad Salleh said he and his wife were “victims” as the allegations were purportedly made “in preparation for the 13th general elections” due to Shahrizat’s post as a minister with the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional (BN).
Continuing his testimony today after the lunch break, Mohamad Salleh said PKR’s alleged “manipulation” of the Auditor-General’s report released in October 2011 was the start of mounting pressure for Shahrizat to quit, disagreeing that BN politicians had contributed to the pressure.
“I don’t agree, I asked Mahathir, he just said he didn’t pressure,” he said, referring to former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during cross-examination by Nurul Izzah’s lawyer Joshua Kevin Sathiaseelan.
The trial resumes before High Court judge Datuk Hue Siew Kheng this Wednesday, with Nurul Izzah to take the stand as a witness for the defendants.
On December 24, 2013, NFCorp, Mohamad Salleh had filed the defamation suit against Nurul Izzah and Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail in his capacity then as PKR secretary-general.
In her remarks that were carried by online news channel Malaysiakini TV Nurul Izzah Lembah Pantai MP had among other things, allegedly claimed that there was a “conflict of interest” in the purchase of the properties.
She had allegedly questioned the role of then minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil – who was also the Lembah Pantai MP before Nurul Izzah – in the purchase of the properties that are located in the same constituency.