Agriculture Minister Salahuddin plans NFC revival — minus the scandal

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub speaks at a breaking of fast event at the Malaysian Agro-Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Serdang May 22, 2018. — Bernama pic
Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Salahuddin Ayub speaks at a breaking of fast event at the Malaysian Agro-Exposition Park Serdang (MAEPS) in Serdang May 22, 2018. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, May 27 — The Agriculture and Agro-Based Industry Ministry may revive and rename the National Feedlot Corporation (NFC) project to help meet the country’s livestock needs.

In an interview with New Sunday Times published today, its Minister Salahuddin Ayub said although the project was embroiled in controversies in 2011, it had “good goals” — among which was to have an integrated and sustainable Malaysian beef industry.

“I have instructed the ministry’s secretary-general Datuk Seri Ismail Bakar to relook at the project [because] its goals were good.

“If it succeeds, it can contribute to 30 per cent of our beef needs. Currently, we are at 27 per cent. If we can achieve this, we will depend less on imports and this will be good for our gross domestic products,” he reportedly said.

The Pulai MP said he will submit a proposal paper to the Cabinet before seeking Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Osman Sapian’s approval to return seized NFC-related land to the federal government.

“If the Cabinet endorses it, it will be redeveloped immediately. The land is there. Most of it is in Negri Sembilan and others in Segamat and Muar.

“I will go to Johor and meet the mentri besar... We may change NFC’s name but that is not important now. We need to get this project off the ground. We will relook at its funding and I am certain this can be a success,” he said.

Speaking on the investigations relating to the NFC project, Salahuddin said he will not get involved and instead, leave it to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

“This is one of the promises made by Pakatan Harapan government — where all mega projects will be investigated for corruption. I give the legal unit freedom to do anything,” he said.

Salahuddin, who clocked in as minister for the first time on Tuesday, added the ministry was about to undergo major structural reform to ensure it is headed by leaders who have credibility and integrity.

“I do not want all the board of directors to be politicians either. It must also comprise academicians and experts.

“A team will be formed to evaluate these candidates including checking their status at the Insolvency Department and criminal records.

He said among others, the ministry was also looking at the possibility of becoming a rice-producing country, tackling the issues of inadequate food exports and addressing food security by finding out how much food stock we have in detail.

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