Published: Wednesday October 10, 2012 MYT 8:56:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday October 10, 2012 MYT 10:41:32 PM
Shahrizat tells court she was unembarrassed by focus on National Feedlot project
By M. MAGESWARI
KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil told a High Court that she was not embarrassed by revelation in the Auditor-General's report about the National Feedlot project as it was not about her husband's company.
“National Feedlot Centre and National Feedlot Corporation (NFCorp) are two separate entities.
“The Auditor-General's report is on the centre. NFCorp is a company which my husband and son own,” she told lawyer Ranjit Singh.
Shahrizat, 59, was testifying in her RM100mil defamation suit against PKR strategic director Mohd Rafizi Ramli and Wanita chief Zuraida Kamaruddin.
She disagreed that if NFC failed, it would be attributed to NFCorp which is in charge of running the centre in Gemas.
Asked if she felt embarrassed as newspaper reports had referred to NFCorp as in a “mess”, she said:“ In the beginning, I did not feel embarrassed but later I did.”
She agreed to the suggestion by Ranjit, that the Auditor-General has found various weaknesses in the NFC project but denied that it could be considered a failure if it did not meet the target for beef self-sufficiency.
The former Women, Family and Community Development Minister also disagreed that if the NFC project did not have any income, it would have problems repaying the loan to the government.
Asked if NFCorp income would be generated from the NFC project, Shahrizat, who is also Wanita Umno chief said: “I don't know. I think it is a business entity. It may have other (income).”
In her defamation suit filed on Jan 19, Shahrizat said Rafizi and Zuraida started holding a series of press conferences in various locations, including the Parliament lobby, in an orchestrated attack against NFC, her husband and family.
Rafizi, in his defence, said his statement on Nov 8 last year constituted fair comment on a matter of public interest and filed a counter-claim on March 8 against Shahrizat over her alleged defamatory remarks.
Shahrizat agreed that the Public Accounts Committee's announcement on Oct 24 that it would look into NFCorp showed that the matter was of public interest.
She said that she did not feel defamed when other ministers and MPs asked her to resign and take responsibility over the NFC issues.
Shahrizat also said that her husband Datuk Seri Dr Mohamed Salleh Ismail had expertise in the cattle rearing business.
The hearing continues before High Court Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera on Monday.