Speech by Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjung, Lim Kit Siang, at the DAP May Day public protest meeting on the EPF shares scandal held at Wisma Chin Woo in Ipoh on Saturday, 2.5.1987 at 8 p.m.
According to the 1985 EPF Report, 3.3 per cent of its total funds of $24000, or $792 million, went to “Equities and funds with Portforlio managers.” The Auditor-General, in his comments on the 1985 Accounts, said that at the end of 1985, a total of $517.52 million were invested in shares of listed companies.
This means that there was a colossal sum of $275 million in the hands of the stockbrokers or merchant bankers acting as the EPF portforlio managers. This is a vast sum of money, and EPF should explain why it allowed such unhealthy practice to take place, and who are the stockbrokers or merchant bankers who acted as the EPF portforlio managers, and allowed to keep such vast sums of EPF funds as liquid cash.
Why did Government use EPF funds to mount a rescue operation as a result of the Maminco scandal disaster without consulting the EPF Board?
The EPF is facing a great crisis of confidence among its 4.8 million contributors, for there are so many scandals which are unexplained and unaccounted for, like the scandals involving Makuwasa, investment of non-trustee stocks, the $30 million contribution to a hush-hush government operation known as ICC (Investment Co-ordinating Council) in 1985 to jack up share prices, etc.
Last year, the Prime Minister admitted that the Makuwasa operations of EPF were part of the government plans to recoup losses suffered by the government in its ill-fated Maminco operation, which had attempted in 1981 and 1982 to manipulate the international tin market. The government had said the country lost $660 million from the Maminco operation, although analysts put the loss as high as $1 billion.
The important question however is why the Government used the workers’ monies in the EPF to mount a rescue operation to recoup government losses from the Maminco scandal, without consulting or even knowledge of the EPF Board. The Prime Minister’s admission about the use of EPF funds in the Makuwasa operations to recoup losses suffered from Maminco must have come as news, not only to the 4.8 million EPF contributors, but to the members of the EPF Board as well.
Was the use of the EPF funds to recoup Maminco losses in line with the EPF Act, and the purpose of the EPF as a social security fund of the Malaysian working force?
Why is the Labour Minister, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, keeping quiet about the misuse of EPF funds?
It is significant that in the public controversy over the EPF scandals, the Labour Minister, Datuk Lee Kim Sai, is keeping very quiet although he is supposed to look after the welfare of the workers. This is understandable for the Ministers of labour in Malaysia are more employer and management spokesmen rather than worker champions.
This is why the workers’ problems, aspirations and demands are never given a fair hearing in the Cabinet. This makes it more imperative that there must be a growing worker awareness and public consciousness about their rights, like over the EPF issues, and to demand that the Government live up to its promise to be an ‘open, accountable and trustworthy’ administration by having a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the various EPF scandals which had occurred in 1985.