Mahathir as Finance Minister should explain why he had re-appointed EPF Board and EPF Investment Panel members who had failed to pass the EPF Code on Corporate Governance requiring 50 per cent attendance of meetings last year
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Last Wednesday, the second Finance Minister, Datuk Jamaludin Jarjis announced the new two-year appointments for the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Board and the EPF Investment Panel effective from June 1.
DAP calls on the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, in his capacity as Finance Minister, to explain why he had re-appointed EPF Board and EPF Investment Panel members who had failed to pass the EPF Code on Corporate Governance requiring 50 per cent attendance of meetings last year.
For the first time in the 51-year history of EPF, its 2002 Annual Report carried a “Statement on Corporate Governance”, where it declared that the Finance Minister appoints only those who have “proven track record of integrity, ability and reliability to undertake the obligations with utmost diligence” to the EPF Board and the EPF Investment Panel.
The EPF “Statement on Corporate Governance” started with the following declaration and commitment:
It is most unfortunate and regrettable that the EPF’s journey to live up to the principles of the Code on Corporate Governance had started very badly on a completely wrong footing – with the failure of EPF Board and Investment Panel members to pass the Code requiring 50 per cent attendance of meetings last year but who are still re-appointed despite the Finance Minister’s stringent review and evaluation of their “performance” and their track record of “reliability to undertake the obligations with utmost diligence”.
The EPF 2002 Annual Report gives the following “Details of Board and Investment Panel members’ attendance at meetings” last year:
From the above attendance records, the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC)President Senator Datuk Zainal Rampak was the only EPF Board member to fail to pass the Corporate Governance Code of 50 per cent attendance of EPF Board meetings, attending only two out of six meetings held last year while the Executive President and Chief Executive of Malayan Banking, Datuk Amirsham A. Aziz was the only EPF Investment Panel member to fail the Code requiring 50% attendance, attending only six out of 15 meetings held last year.
Zainal’s attendance of the two important EPF Board Committees - Audit Committee and Finance/Development Committee of which he was both a member, was also dismal and disgraceful – attending not a single one of the three Audit Committee meetings held last year while only attending two of the six Finance/Development Committee meetings.
The re-appointment of Zainal as EPF Board member and Amirsham as EPF Investment Panel member makes nonsense of the EPF Code of Corporate Governance and the claim that the Finance Minister “appoints only those who have proven record of integrity, ability and reliability to undertake the obligations with utmost diligence”.
I had yesterday called for the resignation of Zainal from the EPF Board to give way to a more effective and responsible worker representative to protect the rights and interests of the RM200 billion life-savings of the 10.3 million EPF contributors and to ensure that they get the best possible EPF dividends.
Amirsham should also resign from the EPF Investment Panel as he had done a grave disservice to the 10.3 million EPF contributors with his low 40 per cent attendance of its meeting last year – unless he could give an iron-clad guarantee of 100% attendance record in his new term of appointment to make up for his poor attendance and performance last year.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman