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Be a cow-ard no more!

By TAY TIAN YAN
Translated by DOMINIC LOH
Sin Chew Daily

Anyone who has a mouth in this country is talking about the cow.

Deputy PM Muhyiddin Yassin has said it. So have agriculture minister Noh Omar and Khairy Jamaluddin (although no one knows the validity of the latter's spokesmanship).

Of course, these people have all spoken in the government's language.

No one remembers what they have actually said. Anyway, that couldn't have been too far off from the standard answers such as "no problem," "no one is going to resign for this."

Those in the Opposition have also voiced up, and I really mean "UP."

The PKR has finally found an issue it can hit back at the government, and their target is very straightforward: Shahrizat. If they can bring down Shahrizat, they will garner double as much support from urban Malays and the women alike.

PAS and DAP are not going to be outdone as well. The cow issue is not that hard to understand at all, whether you are a country bumpkin or a sophisticated urbanite. While rural farmers are well aware of the difficulty in rearing the cattle, urban consumers know that beef is not cheap.

Hitting out at the cow business comes way easier than going after the PKFZ, and more down-to-earth than the Bersih rally.

Apparently many in this country care about what happens to the cow!

From mamak stalls to coffee joints, and from print media to the Internet, the cow has been in the limelight of late, while the RM9.8 million cow-dominium provides a perfect backdrop.

All of a sudden everyone becomes an expert in cow talks.

I only wonder why the person who should, above all, say something is now dead silent and absent from the public domain.

Shahrizat has suddenly become so quiet. In fact, there is hardly any news about her lately, and she is nowhere in sight in the Parliament, too.

She is not that type of taciturn woman. She used to have a hive of activity all around her.

This is a time when everyone wants to listen to her on what her family has to do with the National Feedlot Centre (NFC).

She remains dead silent. And yes, where has the cow boss gone?

Mohamad Salleh, the executive chairman of NFC, is now a man of mystery. Everyone is discussing about him, but he is far beyond the reach of everybody's radar.

People want to know why the NFC only keeps 3,000-odd cows with the hundreds of millions of ringgit in loans it has secured from the government. Nothing about the satellite farms the centre has pledged, but a nearly RM10 million posh condominium in its place.

In fact, the government does not need to defend the NFC nor Mohd Salleh. This is not what the government oughts to do.

This is a corporate problem. The company has been entrusted by the government, and has secured the government contract and loans, but if it fails to deliver, the government has the obligation to seek an explanation, not to defend it.

The government's job is to thrash out the problem, find out whether the NFC has breached the contract, apply pressure on it and make it accountable for the misdeed.

The government will only complicate things further by squarely rationalising the problem.

In the very end, Shahrizat and her husband still have to come out of the bushes and talk.

 

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