EPF Chairman Abdul Halim should clarify
whether it is true that EPF is preparing to declare an even lower dividend
of below 4 per cent for this year
by Lim Kit Siang
Provident Fund (EPF) Board Chairman, Tan Sri Abdul Halim Ali should clarify
whether it is true that for this year, EPF is preparing to declare an even
lower dividend than 4.25 per cent for 2002 announced two days ago - well
below 4 per cent.
This shocking revelation was made yesterday by the Malaysian Trades Union
Congress (MTUC) president, Datuk Zainal Rampak, who said that as a member of
the EPF Board he had been told that the EPF dividend for this year would be
lower than 4 per cent. (Nanyang Siang Pau)
If the EPF is heading back towards the fifties when the EPF dividend was at
the statutory minimum of 2.5 per cent, then it is not just Zainal but the
entire 10.3 million EPF contributors who should be forewarned and given a
chance to decide whether they want EPF to continue in its present form and
The 4.25 per cent EPF dividend last year is shocking and outrageous but what
is even more shocking and outrageous is that the Finance Ministry could give
its approval for such a unjustifiably low dividend without any demand for a
total shake-up of the EPF management and a new EPF policy of full
transparency to explain how EPF could have incurred losses running into tens
of billions of ringgit causing the plunge in the EPF dividend.
Acting Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in his capacity as
Acting Finance Minister, should make a ministerial statement in the Dewan
Negara tomorrow to explain to the country why the Finance Ministry is
satisfied that the 4.25 per cent EPF dividend for last year was "the best
that can be given in the circumstances", what measures the Finance Ministry
has taken to ensure that the 10.3 million EPF contributors do not have to
pay with their hard-earned life-savings the RM10 billion "paper losses"
incurred by EPF as a result of imprudent and reckless equity investments and
that the EPF dividend this year would not plunge below 4 per cent?
DAP is absolutely shocked and outraged by the 4.25 per cent EPF dividend for
last year as it should be much higher than the 5 per cent declared for 2001,
as last year saw a higher national economic growth of 4.2 per cent as
compared to 0.4 per cent for 2001.
DAP will organize a public forum on "Lowest dividend in 40 years - what is
the future of EPF" in Kuala Lumpur in conjunction with this year's May Day
in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, 29th April 2003, and among the speakers to be
invited to be panelists are:
Acting Finance Minister, Datuk
Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, or his representative to explain how the Finance
Ministry could give approval for the 4.25 EPF dividend;
EPF Chairman Tan Sri Abdul Halim
Ali or his representative to justify the declaration of the lowest dividend
in 40 years;
MTUC President Zainal Rampak;
Chairman of the protem committee
of the EPF Contributors' Association, G. Rajasekaran, who is also the MTUC
Representatives from trade unions,
consumer groups and public interest associations.
Zainal Rampak's position on the
EPF dividend is most invidious, as he is on the one hand a member of the EPF
Board and on the other MTUC president calling for nation-wide picket to
voice dissatisfaction over the lowest EPF dividend in 40 years.
Yesterday, he gave one instance of the mismanagement of the EPF, the RM1
billion loss in investments through its subsidiary, Malaysian Building
Society Bhd, (MBSB).
Why is Zainal referring only to the case of the MBSB which lost RM1 billion
and not to the tens of billions of ringgit of losses incurred by EPF as a
result of imprudent investments in the shares market and disbursements of
mega-loans? Why should the billions of ringgit of EPF losses from bad
management be passed down to the innocent EPF contributors in lower
dividends than they are entitled to?
IF Zainal is to lead a nation-wide MTUC protest campaign against the EPF's
lowest dividend in 40 years, shouldn't he resign first as a member of the
Lim Kit Siang, DAP National