(Petaling Jaya, Friday): DAP welcomes Anwar’s statement yesterday that the government is not expecting Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to take up part of the proposed RM20 billion bonds to help speed up economic recovery.
Anwar said: "EPF already has big commitments. Its total investment in the share market and infrastructure projects stands at about RM50 billion."
While welcoming Anwar’s statement, I would call on the Special Functions Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin to publicly endorse Anwar’s statement, especially as the National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP) prepared by the National Economic Action Council has proposed that the government issue RM20 billion worth of long-term bonds to EPF, Petronas and Insurance Companies.
Both Anwar and Daim should be sensitive to the worries and concerns of the nine million EPF contributors about the safety and security of the RM160 billion EPF funds, which increases monthly by RM1.2 billion.
At a time when the country is faced with a crisis of liquidity of funds, the cash-rich EPF with its vast funds will be an attractive target to those who are looking for sources of funding to bail out troubled companies with political connections.
If EPF is now not required to subscribe to part of the RM20 billion government bonds to help speed up the economic recovery - I had earlier estimated that EPF may be required to put up as much as RM10 billion - then where is the money for the RM20 billion bonds going to come from? Is it all going to come from Petronas and Insurance Companies?
Yesterday, Petronas chairman, Tan Sri Azizan Zainul Abidin said the national oil corporation was prepared to subscribe to part of the RM20 billion bond issue recommended by NERP to help put the economy back on track.
He said: "If the nation needs liquidity, we will assist in providing liquidity".
Petronas has reserves of about RM30 billion and it must be accountable to Parliament as to how it is managing the Petronas reserves to the best long-term interests of the nation and people and what are the safeguards to ensure the reserves are never used for any bail-out operations.