Zainal Rampak should resign from the EPF Board to which he had just been re-appointed as he had been the most irresponsible and delinquent EPF Board member last year, attending only two of the six EPF Board meetings while completely absent from all the three EPF Audit Committee meetings and present for two of the six Finance and Development Committee meetings
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Wednesday): Malaysian Trades Union Congress President Senator Datuk Zainal Rampak should resign from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Board to which he had just been re-appointed as he had been the most irresponsible and delinquent EPF Board member last year, attending only two of the six EPF Board meetings while completely absent from the three EPF Audit Committee meetings and present for only two of the six Finance and Development Committee meetings.
These shocking statistics were revealed in the EPF 2002 Annual Report which was allegedly “tabled” in Parliament in a most irregular, improper and unprecedented manner, which I will come to later.
According to the EPF 2002 Report, Zainal leads the EPF Board members in having the worst attendance for the six EPF Board bi-monthly meetings held last year, the only member to fail the Board’s Code of Corporate Governance which requires 50 per cent attendance for each member.
The other three EPF Board members in the worst attendance category for the six EPF Board meetings last year were:
Last year, to ensure the efficient discharge of its duties, the EPF Board formed five committees “to oversee specific matters pertaining to the running of the organization”, and Zainal sat on two of the most important of the five committees, namely Audit Committee to assess “the organisation’s processes relating to its risks and control environment as well as overseeing financial reporting and evaluating the internal audit process” and the Finance and Development Committee to deal with matters “pertaining to assets and properties in terms of tender, disposal, acquisition, project progress, engagement of advisers as well as other related matters” as well as “bank accounts, bank loans, control of expenses, EPF annual budget and other related matters”.
Zainal’s attendance record for the important EPF Board Audit Committee meetings was simply disgraceful, as he did not attend a single one of the three meetings held last year. The other worker representative on the Audit Committee, Dato’ N. Siva Subramaniam attended two of the three meetings.
For the Finance and Development Committee, Zainal only attended two of the six meetings held while the other worker representative on the committee, Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal attended four of the six meetings.
Siva Subramaniam, the CUEPACS President, was also on the Establishment, Appointment and Service Committee on matters pertaining to the establishment of positions in EPF, terms of service, pay structure and other related matters. He attended only one of the four meetings held last year, while the other worker representative, Rebecca Chin Yung Chiew attended three of the four meetings.
The worker representatives in the other two EPF Board committees had full attendance records, Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal for the four meetings of Disciplinary Committee and Andrew Lo Kian Nyan for the Promotion Committee responsible for matters pertaining to employees’ promotion, attending both the meetings held last year.
The attendance records of the five worker representatives for the six bi-monthly EPF Board meetings last year were:
Apart from Andrew Lo, the attendance records of the worker representatives on the EPF Board and the various EPF Board Committees did not reflect the seriousness and degree of responsibility which the workers as a whole and the 10.3 million EPF contributors in particular had a right to expect from them, at a time when their life-savings exceeding RM200 billion were facing a crisis of confidence with regard to their quality, security and transparency. The worst example of the breach of trust of the workers and the EPF contributors came from Zainal, who did not even attend the crucial first EPF Board meeting this year which decided on the lowest dividend in 40 years for last year at 4.25 per cent.
Zainal had made a lot of noises outside the EPF protesting against the 4.25 per cent EPF dividend last year, but his bona fides must come under question when he was so irresponsible and delinquent in the discharge of his important duties as the leading worker representative on the EPF Board that he was the only EPF Board member to fail the EPF Code of Corporate Governance of at least 50 per cent attendance of meetings.
If Zainal is only good at barking outside EPF at the lowest EPF dividend in 40 years last year, and even lower dividends in the coming years, but is utterly useless to defend the rights and interests of the EPF contributors at the EPF Board and the EPF Committees – being the sole EPF Board member to fail to achieve 50 per cent attendance for Board and Committee meetings last year – Zainal should immediately resign from the EPF Board to give way to a more effective worker representative while he continues making noises outside EPF.
The MTUC should formally request the resignation of Zainal as EPF Board member and submit nominations to the Finance Minister for his replacement. This is however a matter which concerns not just the MTUC but the 10.3 million EPF contributors, the overwhelming majority of whom are not organized trade union members.
I had said that the EPF 2002 Annual Report was “tabled” in Parliament in a most irregular, improper and unprecedented manner on June 25, 2003, as Members of Parliament never received copies of the report either on that day or the next day, the last day of the June meeting of Dewan Rakyat. They only got it some two weeks later!
Something is very strange, unusual and even “fishy” about the circumstances of the “tabling” of the EPF 2002 Annual Report in Parliament, for although the printed Order Paper for the Business of the Day for 25th June 2003 included it in its list of statute papers presented to the House for the day, it is still omitted from the online version for the Order Paper for June 25, 2003 when I checked this morning from the parliamentary website http://www.parlimen.gov.my.
The failure to physically table the EPF 2002 Annual Report in the Dewan Rakyat on June 25, 2003 could not be the result of an oversight, or the report would have been distributed to MPs on the last day of the Dewan Rakyat meeting on June 26. That there was something very strange, unusual and even “fishy” about the so-called “tabling” of the EPF 2002 Report in Parliament was confirmed by the failure to table it on the first day of meeting of the Dewan Negara which met after the Dewan Rakyat. According to the Parliament Order Paper online, the EPF 2002 Annual Report was not tabled in the Dewan Negara on its first sitting on July 1, but only on its last sitting on July 8, although I do not know whether Senators actually received copies of the report.
DAP MPs were sent copies of the EPF 2002 Report some two weeks later by “Pos Laju” after the Dewan Negara meeting of July 8. The strange, unusual and fishy circumstances of the “tabling” of the EPF 2002 Report seemed to serve two purposes – to comply with the requirement to table it in Parliament but to avoid the attention of MPs, particularly from the DAP, and the media. Satisfactory explanations from Parliament, EPF and the Finance Ministry are in order.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman