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By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 23: According to ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation), cattle industry players are surprised Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) paid AUD20 million for a cattle breeding station at Carmor Plains in Darwin, Australia.
One industry player was even quoted as saying it would be difficult for SEDC to make a profit from this investment.
After reading the ABC News report that was published yesterday, Pending assemblywoman Violet Yong once again demanded SEDC and the state government to publish in full its investment on the station in Darwin.
Yong told both SEDC and the state government that there was no point in evading the issue any longer as ABC News had confirmed that SEDC paid AUD20 million for the cattle property on the floodplains east of Darwin.
Yong gave SEDC and the state government seven days to reveal all important information concerning the 41,500-hectare cattle station or she would come knocking at their doors.
“It is quite sad that the state government did not dare to reveal any information about this investment when I pressed for it twice, including during the DUN (State Legislative Assembly) sitting,” she told a press conference here today.
“However, no matter how hard SEDC tries to conceal, the truth will always come to light,” she said in referring to the news report published by ABC News headlined ‘NT cattle property Carmor Plains sold to Malaysia’s Sarawak Economic Development Corporation for $20m’ (https://www.abc.net.au/news/rural/2019-05-22/top-end-cattle-property-carmor-plains-bought-by-malaysians/11129848)
The report, she pointed out, confirmed that SEDC, through Rosewood Station, which is a cattle farm on the NT/Western Australia border that the corporation owned, settled the transactions for the Carmor Plains property this month.
“This report brought shame to Sarawak. Why I said so is because the report stated that the top end cattle industry players were surprised with the (AUD)$20 million price tag for Carmor Plains,” she pointed out.
Yong quoted a point in the report, which states, “An industry figure suggested that it would be difficult for SEDC to make a profit from such a large sum paid for a relatively small piece of land.”
According to the report, the last time Carmor Plains changed hands in 2001, it was sold for just AUD$2.8 million.
Yong stressed that the Malaysian Auditor-General Report 2015 had stated that SEDC lost AUD$2.8 million between 2009 and 2013 due to high costs and low cattle sales from its Australian cattle properties.
“The people have less confidence in SEDC given their lousy track record. So, in order to regain public confidence or to persuade the people that this is a good deal, be frank and transparent on the whole matter,” she advised. — DayakDaily