Come clean on Aussie cattle farm purchase, urges Sarawak rep

Pending assemblyman Violet Yong quoted Australian press reports that the RM58 million price tag for Carmor Plains was met with surprise by some in the top-end cattle industry.

KUCHING: A Sarawak assemblyman wants the Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) to come clean by providing full details of its investment in the Carmor Plains cattle property in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Pending assemblyman Violet Yong questioned SEDC’s need to spend a “huge sum of money” on the cattle farm.

Quoting from a news report on ABC News Australia, she said: “The A$20 million (RM58 million) price tag for Carmor Plains has been met with surprise by some in the top-end cattle industry.

“According to the report, the last time the cattle farm had changed hands in 2001, it was sold for only A$2.8 million and an industry person had said it would be difficult for SEDC to make a profit from such a large sum paid for a relatively small piece of land.”

This means that the price of the cattle farm was over the market value, she said.

“If this is not true, then SEDC should rebut it. Otherwise, it could mean that they’re hiding something from the people,” she said at a press conference here today.

In an earlier report, SEDC chairman Abdul Aziz Husain said the purchase of the cattle farm was done on a “willing buyer willing seller” basis.

“All the records are available at the Australian government’s office,” he said.

However, Yong said Aziz had failed to answer her query as to whether the cattle farm was bought with cash or through a loan.

“If it was bought through a loan, how much is the loan? What is the interest and instalment plan?

“If it was bought with cash, how did they channel out the money and what are the economic benefits to Sarawak?”

She said SEDC had been involved in cattle farming for the last 37 years but Sarawakians had yet to enjoy cheaper beef.

“We demand an answer and people have the right to know.

“This is an example of Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) spending the people’s money lavishly through foreign investments,” she said, adding that there had not been any study conducted on the purchase of the cattle farm.