(Penang, Sunday): The Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, should present a White Paper on the RM10 billion losses suffered by the Employees Provident Fund in 1997 from its equity investments as revealed the its recently-released 1997 annual report.
The RM10 billion EPF losses as a result of the 1997 stock market plunge was probably based on the stock market's 1997 year-end close of 594.44 points on the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, which is not very different from last Friday’s Kuala Lumpur Composite Index which closed at 618.54.
As executive director of National Economic Action Council (NEAC) which produced the National Economic Recovery Plan (NERP), Daim had advocated more regular and frequent releases of government data to enhance accountability and transparency of public governance as an important step to restore public confidence.
Daim should practise as Finance Minister what he preached in the NEAC, and the White Paper on the EPF’s RM10 billion losses should give full details of the equities invested by the EPF in 1997, together with the date, price and volume of their purchase or sale.
Daim should know that the eight million EPF contributors are very concerned about the safety and security of their RM140 billion EPF funds, especially as there is no mechanism for the EPF contributors to check on the management and stewardship of the EPF funds.
Daim should introduce a bill in the next meeting of Parliament to amend the Employees Provident Fund Act to give the eight million EPF contributors a statutory right through various mechanisms to demand accountability from the EPF Board.