KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 – The High Court of Kuala Lumpur today has viewed a video made in November 2007 showing how government of Malaysia failed to build proper feedlot for NFCorp to start its operation. Scenes of badly built earthen roads, incomplete trenches, eroded soil, and barren lands were seen across 1500 acres of the land allocated for the project.
The court was shown scenes of badly built roads, incomplete trenches, eroded soils and barren lands across 1500 acres of land where the project was supposed to commence.
The video seems to have rebutted claims made yesterday by government witness Datuk Mohd Azhari Ghazali that they had completed all the works required at the National Feedlot site.
Azhari even claimed that they built more than requested, although the video shown today proved otherwise.
Government didn’t plant grass properly at the feedlot
One of the requirement of the project was the planting of napier grass (fodder or food for the cattles), which could hardly be seen in the video. According to NFCorp CEO Datuk Seri Salleh Ismail who spoke in the video, the growth of acacia has outgrown the napier causing a huge problem to harvest napier.
Aside from that, napier grass was hardly seen in the video and Salleh mentioned that the problem could be due to either the planting process or the soil itself could be too acidic and might not have been reconditioned properly.
Other main problems highlighted was the uneven surface of land and existence of big rocks and tree roots which could damage the machinery used to harvest the napier grass.
NFCorp’s lawyer Datuk K Kirubaran cross-examined 2 government witnesses today, Datuk Abdul Aziz Jamaluddin, who was the Authorised Technical Officer involved in the implementation of the National Feedlot Project and Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahri formerly with Ministry of Finance.
When asked about the video, Aziz said that the scenes were selective and not representative of 1500 acres.
He went on to explain that with regards to napier planting, the government did apply to MOF re-plant napiers in 2009 for 1000 acres at the site, which was nearly 2 years after the video was made. His explanation however, supported NFCorp’s argument that napier was not planted properly in the first place.
Kirubakaran then suggested that up until 2011, no replanting of napier was done and the project was put to halt by MOF. Aziz agreed.
Responding to the poor conditions of the lands, Aziz said that it is normal in such huge project that the land will normalized after 2 to 3 years. Kirubakaran then made a point that should the process takes up to 3 years as Aziz suggested, NFCorp would not be able to start operation in 2008 as per the Implementation Agreement.
Government failed to build abattoirs, crippling NFCorp
On Tuesday the court heard from government witness, retired former Secretary General at Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Ismail how crucial abattoirs are to the national feedlot project.
Kirubakaran continued the same argument today by asking Aziz about government failure to build the EQA (Export Quality Abattoirs).
Aziz defended that NFCorp did not require Export Quality Abattoirs. The court had earlier learnt on Tuesday that the only 2 abattoirs
Aziz begrudgingly agreed that EQAs are crucial to the project after Kirubakaran argued that the government had identified the location to build the EQA as early as 2007, and had agreed in 2008 to build the EQA by January 2010.
NFCorp was supposed to start Entrepreneurs Development Program (EDP) in June 2010 where it would see them buying over 246,000 cows from local feedlot by year 2014. That would mean they would have to slaughter over 20,000 cows a month or about 700 cows per day.
The government agreed to build an EQA at NFCorp site that would have the capacity to slaughter 350 cows per shift (700 a day). The failure to build the EQA prevented NFCorp from kickstarting EDP as planned.
Speaking to NMT, Wan Izmir Salleh, one of NFCorp’s director explained that NFCorp could not buy more cows knowing that they would not be able to slaughter them as it would cost them a fortune to keep the cows fed and alive pending the building of the abattoirs.
Government is still obliged to build EQA for NFCorp
Kirubakaran’s co-council Datuk Seri Rajan Navaratnam continued to cross Aziz.
Rajan: You had expressed earlier that NFCorp did not need Export Quality Abattoirs but do you agree with me that in the Implementation Agreement the EQAs are not meant for export purpose?
Aziz: I agree.
Rajan: Do you agree with me that as early as 2007 the EQA site was already identified?
Rajan: Do you agree with me that that itself showed the importance of EQA?
Rajan: Do you agree with me that until today the Implementation Agreement is still not terminated?
Aziz: I agree.
Rajan: Now do you agree with me, that since the Implementation Agreement is still in effect, the government is still obliged to build the EQA?
More and more shocking revelations are coming out of this trial.
For many years the public had been led to believe that NFCorp blatantly misused the RM250 million loan provided to them without knowing the real issues faced by the company.
More to come only on NMT