Is Sallehuddin suggesting that the 8.2 million EPF members should not expect a very much higher dividend that the statutory minimum of 2.5 per cent for 1998 as the Malaysian GDP is in recession of between -6 to -7.5 per cent ?

Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang  

(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): DAP calls on the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Board to set an example good corporate governance by establishing a mechanism whereby the EPF could be accountable to the 8.2 million EPF members with regard to its investment policy and decisions.

For this reason, I call on the EPF to convene a general meeting of EPF contributors in every state in the country to explain its investment policy and decisions where EPF Board members and officials can allay the concerns of EPF contributors about the safety, liquidity and yield of EPF funds as well as address the queries of EPF members.

Last year, EPF had given the lowest dividend in 21 years with a 6.7 per cent dividend, when the GDP growth was still a heathy 7.8 per cent.

This year, the Malaysian economy will suffer a serious recession, with the Government expecting a negative growth of over six per cent, while the International Monetary Fund forecast in its latest "World Economic Outlook" released in Washington on Monday predicted a contraction of 7.5 per cent for this year.    In this connection, the Malaysian government forecast a positive one per cent GDP growth for next year, but the IMF expects the Malaysian economy to continue in negative growth of -2 per cent.

On Monday, the EPF Executive Chairman, Tan Sri Sallehuddin Mohamed said that the EPF Board guarantees as stipulated by the EPF Act 1991  the payment of dividends of a minimum rate of 2.5 per cent per annum.

Is Sallehuddin’s statement on Monday an indirect reminder to the 8.2 million EPF contributors not to expect an EPF dividend very much higher than the statutory minimum of 2.5 per cent for 1998 as the Malaysian economy is in serious recession of between -6 per cent to -7.5 per cent, when taking into account the forecasts of the Malaysian Government and the IMF?

The convening of general meeting of EPF members in every state so that EPF Board members and officials can be accountable and transparent in their stewardship of the RM140 billion EPF monies, which increases by over RM1 billion of EPF contributions every month, is most urgent especially as the EPF is being regarded as  a cash-rich cow to meet the  RM62 billion needed by the government  to effect a national economic recovery for the 1998/1999 fiscal year.

The RM62 billion figure  comprises RM26 billion t to meet the fiscal deficit, RM31 billion to  restructure the financial system and RM5 billion ringgit to develop infrastructure.

The 8.2 million EPF members are entitled to know  how much is EPF expected to contribute to the RM62 billion national economic recovery plan and what safeguards are there to ensure that these monies are not used to bail out crony companies or revive unproductive mega-projects.


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong