Thursday, January 19, 2012
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil who is currently on a 3 week leave over the National Feedlot Project, NFC, issue, filed a RM 100 million defamation suit on Thursday 19 January 2012 against parti Keadilan Rakyat, PKR Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin and PKR director of strategy Mohd Rafizi Ramli over alleged defamatory statements against her in relation to the NFC issue.
She filed the suit at the Civil High Court Registry at about 3pm through law firm Messrs Shafee & Co.
Shahrizat, currently on three weeks' leave to facilitate investigation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) into the NFC controversy, is claiming RM50 million as general damages and another RM50 million for aggravated and exemplary damages from both defendants.
She is also seeking an injunction to restrain the defendants from making further statements, whether oral or by way of publication, against her in connection with any matter related to the National Feedlot Corporation Sdn Bhd or associated companies.
She is also seeking legal cost and further reliefs deemed fit by the court.
In the statement of claim, Shahrizat stated that at all times, she did not hold any position with the NFC and both defendants had started holding press conferences at various locations, slandering NFC, her husband Datuk Seri Mohamad Salleh Ismail and family.
The Wanita Umno chief claimed that the defendants had systematically and maliciously launched a campaign to "attack, discredit, malign and defame the plaintiff" by spreading vicious, slanderous and libelous allegations against her.
She added that the first defendant (Mohd Rafizi) had authored and published various articles in his blog www.rafiziramli.com.
Shahrizat claimed that the said articles were understood to mean that she had committed some serious legal or moral transgressions and that she was involved in the award process of the feedlot project to NFC.
She also claimed that the second defendant (Zuraida) had issued various libelous statements via press statements reported in the mainstream media and as well as in the official news website of PKR www.keadilandaily.com.
Shahrizat contended that the second defendant had expressed and implied knowledge and with the intention that her words would be published and repeated in the media.
She strongly believed that Zuraida's words meant that NFC could not have obtained the National Feedlot Project if not for the fact she (Shahrizat) was the Umno Wanita chief or a cabinet minister.
As a result of the wide circulation and publication by both defendants, the plaintiff contended she been seriously defamed, suffered considerable loss, hurt and embarrassment to her good name as a person, politician, minister and Wanita Umno chief.
Sharizat's counsel Datuk Seri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah told reporters that his client strongly felt that the culture of impunity in relation to making defamatory statements and rumour mongering must stop.
Previously PKR accussed the NFC top management of using company funds to pay credit card bills amounting to RM593,500 in 2009.
PKR strategic director Rafizi Ramli claimed that NFC’s executive chairman Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Salleh Ismail and his three children, who hold positions in NFC, had each spent between RM10,200 and RM15,210 a month on their credit cards.
However, in an immediate reaction, NFC executive director Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh said these were corporate cards for business expenses.
“They are not personal expenses as alleged,” he said.
Earlier, Rafizi said PKR would lodge a police report on the credit card expenditure at Dang Wangi police station.
Dr Mohamed Salleh is the husband of Shahrizat.
Rafizi also questioned a statement made by NFC chief executive officer Wan Shahinur Izran Salleh that it was still “business as usual” at NFC despite the announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak that the corporation’s assets had been frozen pending investigation.
Meanwhile, in another development, NFC executive director Wan Shahinur Izmir Salleh denied a blogger’s claim that the company’s directors were receiving huge salaries.
He said the relevant authorities had information on their payroll and bank statements.
He said: “The highly exaggerated figures first emerged from a mysterious prank blogger and his erroneous post continues to be picked up by the public.”
On Saturday, 14th January 2012, the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak said the NFC's assets have been frozen for the time being following MACC's probe on the company.
He also said that he had asked Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Noh Omar to study how best the NFC issue can be resolved.
He described the decision taken by Shahrizat to take a three-week's leave from her ministerial duties as appropriate.
The decision, he said, would allow the authority to investigate if she was involved in the NFC issue.
"I've discussed with Datuk Seri Shahrizat about the leave, and it is an appropriate decision as it allows the authority to carry out a thorough investigation.
"Datuk Seri Shahrizat said she was willing to be investigated fully. What happens after this will depend on the outcome of the investigation," he told reporters in Parit Buntar, Perak.
Shahrizat said in a statement that she had applied for three weeks' leave, starting Friday, 13th January 2012.
The NFC issue came to light when the 2010 Auditor-General's Report, released in October 2011, pointed out that the corporation had failed to achieve its objectives.
The NFC, headed by Shahrizat's husband Dr Mohamad Salleh, is the "meat valley" project in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan aimed at increasing the production of local meat and reducing dependency on import for such product.
All the best NFC and cows..