KUALA LUMPUR, 17 March 2009: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) has accepted the explanation given by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) on the lower dividend payout.
MTUC secretary-general G Rajasegaran said the EPF management and chairperson Tan Sri Samsudin Osman had given a detailed briefing to the congress’ officials before they made the announcement.
Yesterday, EPF declared a 4.5% dividend for last year compared to 5.8% in 2007.
Rajasegaran told Bernama: “Although we wish we could have got a higher dividend, nevertheless after hearing the explanation we appreciate the work put in by the board to ensure that the workers money was safely invested.
“We were also glad to note that all investments were done with proper evaluation and study.”
EPF said in a statement yesterday that the lower payout was due to the increase in investment provisioning resulting from the sharp decline in the equity prices brought about by the worldwide financial crisis.
Bulk of the EPF investment were in the local and foreign equity markets.
Meanwhile, Wanita Gerakan deputy chief Ng Siew Lai said she was dissatisfied with the EPF explanation to merely blame the global economic crisis for the lower dividend.
“Did it lose heavily on its investment or what? EPF contributors have the right to know,” she said in a statement.
She said the impact of the global economic crisis was felt only in the last quarter of 2008 while the country’s economy was much better in the first three quarters and thus, investments by EPF in government securities, bonds and the equity market could have fetched better returns.
“The 4.5% dividend for 2008 is low, although we acknowledge that it is still higher that the interest rate for fixed terms in banks which is 3.0% or 2.9% for one year in some banks,” she said.
EPF contributors should also take note that their savings with EPF were safe, she added. — Bernama