DAP Central Executive Committee will meet on Sunday on the MTUC picket to protest against lowest dividend on May 21 and study the critique of former EPF Investment Panel Dr. Thillainathan on unsatisfactorfy management of EPF and mal-governance
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The statement by the CUEPACS President, Datuk N. Siva Subramaniam in the New Straits Times today expressing support for the lowest EPF dividend for 40 years at 4.25 per cent last year and his disagreement with the MTUC decision to picket against the EPF dividend on 21st May is most surprising as they are at odds with what he said at the DAP public forum on “Lowest dividend in 40 years – The future of EPF” on Monday.
At the forum, Siva said twice that he was against the lowest EPF dividend in 40 years – in contrast to his statement in the NST that it was “not right” for MTUC to ask for a dividend that did not take into account the sluggish world economy.
Siva had neither demurred nor objected when I said that EPF owes the duty of accountability and transparency to the 10.3 million EPF contributors on many fundamental issues of EPF management and investment, such as:
the sharp critique by veteran EPF insider who served for a decade on the EPF Investment Panel until 2001, Dr. R. Thillainathan, on the EPF’s “mal-governance” and his verdict that EPF’s performance as a retirement scheme is “not satisfactory”.
Expressing disagreement with the MTUC call for a picket against the lowest EPF dividend in 40 years, Siva told NST: “We also do not want opposition parties to get involved with workers’ issues. This makes it complicated because there are some who have said they are also going to picket.”
This is most surprising for at least two reasons. Firstly, is Siva suggesting that opposition parties and organizations apart from trade unions have no right or business to be concerned about the lowest EPF dividend in 40 years?
If Siva wants to question the right of the opposition to be concerned about the lowest dividend in 40 years, he should ask himself as to what right and basis he was appointed to the EPF Board.
As CUEPACS President, he represents the minority of minority of the 10.3 million EPF contributors. Let us look at the following salient facts::
The second objection to Siva’s disparaging reference to the Opposition was his tacit support of the consensus at Monday’s forum that all political parties (whether government or opposition), trade unions, NGOs, consumer groups and concerned Malaysians should join forces to mobilize public opinion to demand greater EPF accountability and transparency of its management and investment polices and performance.
In fact, at the forum Rajasekaran invited all political parties and organizations to support the MTUC’s nation-wide picket against the 4.25 per cent EPF dividend declared for 2002 on the ground that this is an issue which does not just concern trade unions and their members, but all 10.3 million EPF contributors – and Rajasekaran is right as over 95 per cent of the 10.3 million EPF contributors are not MTUC members.
There was no murmur of objection from Siva, and his public objection yesterday to the MTUC picket and the possible involvement of the opposition have raised eyebrows as to what caused his change of position in a matter of three days.
DAP Central Executive Committee will meet on Sunday on the MTUC picket to protest against lowest dividend on May 21. DAP supports MTUC picket against the lowest EPF dividend in 40 years, although we are very critical of the role of the MTUC President, Senator Datuk Zainal Rampak, in his double failure to attend the important EPF Board meeting which decided on the 4.25 per cent dividend and to give acceptable explanation for his absence from the important EPF Board meeting.
However, while DAP supports the MTUC nation-wide picket against the 4.25 per cent EPF dividend on May 21, we do not want to be accused of hijacking and “politicizing” the MTUC picket by Siva and others.
The DAP CEC will also study the important and sharp critique of EPF by former long-standing EPF Investment Panel member Dr. Thillainathan on the unsatisfactory EPF management and mal-governance, and in particular, on EPF’s multiple failures, viz:
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman