EPF investment losses in shares as at end of May 1986 is probably around $200 million and not $141 million as stated by Tan Sri Zain Azraai

Press Conference Statement by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General And MP for Kota Melaka, Lim Kit Siang, outside the PT EPF Building in support of MTUC demonstration against EPF investment and management policies and decisions on Monday, 7th July 1986 at 3.30 p.m.

EPF investment losses in shares as at end of May 1986 is probably around $200 million and not $141 million as stated by Tan Sri Zain Azraai

I commend the MTUC for organising nation-wide pickets to against the EPF contributors’ funds, in utter disregard of the workers’ interedts and right to full public accountability.

Trade unions and the 4.8 million EPF members, who represent 81 per cent of the nation’s working population, must be be vigilant and assertive of their rirhgt rights and monies in the EPF, and not give the EPF Management , Board and Investment Panel a blank cheque to do what they like without any sense of public accountability or responsibility.

For the last two months, the DAP had spearheaded a national campaign to demand that the EPF should account for its trusteeship of the workers’ funds in the EPF, and that the workers are entitled to full information about the background, rationale and merit of each EPF investment and management decision. There cam be no secret as to how the EPF Board or Investment Panel is managing or investing EPF money, unless there are ‘unspeakable’ and ‘unjustifiable’ things which must be hidden from public knowledge or scrutiny.

I have just studied the 20-page explanation of the new EPF Chairman, Tan Sri Zain Azraai, on 1st July 1986 to various queries I had raised on the EPF in the past few weeks, and I find that Tan Sri Zain Azraai had been even more evasive than from the press reports.

Tan Sri Zain was trying to play down the losses incurred by EPF because of shares investments.

He said that as at 31st May 1986, 2.51% of the EPF funds were invested in equity shares managed by the Investment Panel and Management, and that as at the end of May 1986,’paper losses’ stood at $141 million.

But Tan Sri Zain did not give the losses incurred by EPF for equity share investment made by the EPF’s Portforlio Managers, which constituted 97 % of the $25 billion EPF funds. In the March Parliament, the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, told the DAP MPs that the EPF suffered $36.8 million losses as Dec.31, 1985 because of the decline in share prices as a result of share investment from the EPF’s portfolio managers. This $36.8 million loss would be greater as at the end of May 1986, and on that date, the EPF’s total losses as a result of equity share investment would be in the region of $200 million rather than $141 million as mentioned by Tan Sri Zain Azraai.

I challenge Tan Sri Zain Azraai to prove me wrong!

Tan Sri Zain Azraai put the blame for the decline of the sharp fall in the EPF share investment on the Pan El crisis which he said, wiped out approximately $18 billion of the KLSE total market capital ization as of 30th April 1986.(We know that on the first day of resumption of the KLSE after the three0day suspension following the Pan El crisis early December, it wiped out $10.8 billion of total market capitalisation).

It is clear that the MCA President, Tan Koon Swan, must bear the responsibility for the EPF’s loss of some $200 million in shares investment because of the Pan El crisis, although this cannot completely absolve the EPF Investment Panel of its responsibility for this loss.

Tan Sri Zain’s explanation on the $2 government company, MAKUWASA Securities Sdn.Bhd. , and why the EPF adsorbed a loss of $10 million in the disposal of shares to MAKUWASA; as well as EPF’s role in the Investment Co-ordination Committee(ICC) where it pooled funds from other agencies like SOCSO to buy shares, are most unsatisfactory.

Tan Sri Zain has also failed to provide facts and figures about the losses sustained by EPF in various projects, like the Atabaru or Bandar Bahru Kuantan housing project, the Batu Tiga land scheme, the proposed EPF extension project in Petaling Jaya, among others.

Finally, I am surprised that the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib Othman, has been appointed Deputy Chairman of EPF. Why should the Attorney-General be the EPF Deputy Chairman and member of the EPF Investment Panel. Did he advbise on the legality of the EPF’s Makuwasa transactions? Is the Attorney-General going to be the EPF’s counsel if the EPF is sued for illegal investment decisions?

As the EPF is to look after the retirement needs of the workers, it is only right that the workers; representatives should play a full role in the EPF. The DAP calls on the Finance Minister, Daim Zainuddin, to make sure that worker representative is appointed onto the EPF Investment Panel.

The DAP also calls for the appointment of a trade union leader representing the workers to be appointed as Deputy Chairman of the EPF Board to safeguard the right and the interests of the workers and the 4.8 EPF members whose funds stand at $25 billion.

DAP deplores the execution of Chambers and Barlow without allowing them the opportunity of fully exhaust all legal appeals and avenues.
The summary execution of the two Australians, Brian Geoffrey Chambers and John Barlow will be a lot on Malaysia’s international image.

The government should have allowed Chambers and Barlow to fully exhaust whatever legal avenues open to them to appeal to the courts.

Malaysia has nothing to lose by showing the world our fullest respect for the rule of law and the Judiciary, and everything to lose in the manner and the indecent haste with which the execution of Chambers and Barlow were carried out in the early hours of this morning.

I call on the Attorney-General, Tan Sri Abu Talib, who must bear the fullest responsibility for the indecent haste in the execution of Chambers and Barlow, to explain why execution could not wait until all legal avenues and appeals had been exhausted.

Tan Sri Abu Talib has brought shame to Malaysians.