KUALA LUMPUR, May 20 — The National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd’s (NFCorp) new buyer is ready to fully repay the company’s outstanding loan to the federal government, company chairman Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail said today.
Responding to the Finance Ministry statement on its decision to seek full repayment of NFCorp’s outstanding loan amount of over RM253 million, Mohamad Salleh said he welcomed the statement.
“Alhamdulillah, since October 25, 2018, NFCorp already has a new buyer that is prepared and had agreed to pay back NFCorp’s outstanding loan in full within three months from the government’s agreement to the restructuring of NFCorp.
“NFCorp is still awaiting the government’s agreement,” he said in a statement that was made available to Malay Mail.
Mohamad Salleh, who is also former Umno Wanita leader and former minister Tan Sri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s husband, said the current prime minister has already been notified of NFCorp’s new buyer’s intention to make the full repayment.
“NFCorp’s new buyer has already agreed to undertake full responsibility of the liabilities from NFCorp’s initial loan and is prepared to make a ‘Full Redemption’ full payment towards the actual outstanding loan amount to the government. This intention has already been notified to YAB Tun Dr Mahathir bin Mohamad, Malaysia’s Prime Minister through a letter dated November 21, 2018.
“The new buyer has also informed the government of their willingness and confidence to restore and restructure NFCorp, including making full payment of the outstanding loan to the government,” he added in the statement.
He went on to say that NFCorp’s new buyer had already carried out discussions with the government, especially the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry, adding that both sides had allegedly discussed plans to revive the company’s project to achieve national food security, particularly in the production of halal food.
Mohamad Salleh said he believed the Finance Ministry’s statement today follows NFCorp’s new buyer’s May 17, 2019 letter to the Finance Ministry regarding the “Full Redemption” or the full repayment of the loan.
He expressed confidence that the matter can be resolved well under Dr Mahathir’s leadership where NFCorp would fully pay off its loan to the government and “this project that is full of potential can be redeveloped again by the government and NFCorp’s new buyer”.
Mohamad Salleh did not name the new buyer of NFCorp, or expressly state if NFCorp has already been bought over by the new buyer.
Earlier today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng issued a statement saying that the government will be seeking a full repayment of the outstanding amount from a previous RM250 million given in a loan on January 9, 2008 to NFCorp, noting that the loan carried a two per cent interest rate with a 20-year loan period and three-year grace period.
Lim noted that the government had on September 4, 2014 issued a notice of default to NFCorp, also noting that the current outstanding amount from NFCorp as of April 30, 2019 is RM253,618,455.03.
This amount exceeding RM253 million comprises of RM110,840,854.28 due as of April 30, 2019, along with loan principal arrears of RM81,987,629.65, loan interest of RM22,967,131.55 and late interest charges of RM5,886,093.08.
Lim said the matter of getting a full repayment from NFCorp has been referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for further action and said the latter will announce the latest development when available, hinting that court action may be taken to claim for the sum owed.
Late last month, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Salahuddin Ayub was reported saying by news outlet The Malaysian Reserve that his ministry is in talks with an unnamed local company that plans to take over NFCorp and repay the loan amount owed to the Finance Ministry.
It is currently unclear if the deal to buy over NFCorp has gone through.
NFCorp was previously given a RM250 million federal loan for the National Feedlot Centre (NFC) project that later featured in the Auditor-General’s annual report for 2010 over missed production targets, among other things.
The NFCorp cattle-rearing project was intended to reduce Malaysia’s reliance on imported beef, but NFCorp was later embroiled in a scandal when Mohamad Salleh was charged in March 2012 with two counts of criminal breach of trust involving RM49.7 million of the company’s funds.
But Mohamad Salleh was acquitted in November 2015 of the charges, following his lawyer’s letter of representation to the Attorney-General’s Chambers.