Wednesday, December 31, 2014

MALAYSIA:::Did our money go into 1MDB, asks bank union

NUBE calls for full open inquiry into how workers' money has been invested
J-Solomon_1mdb_300KUALA LUMPUR: The bank workers’ union has called for a comprehensive and open inquiry into how workers’ savings are being invested or used, in the light of the current controversy over the finances of government-owned investment company 1Malaysia Development Bhd which has accumulated debts of RM49 billion.
Describing the recent reports and controversy about 1MDB as shocking, the general secretary of the National Union of Bank Employees, J Solomon, demanded transparency in how workers’ savings were being invested or used.
He warned that the government was in danger of losing the trust of the labour force and urg
ed the authorities to have a dialogue with the Malaysian Trades Union Congress for an accountable government and for workers’ interests to be protected.
Solomon said the public must be informed if EPF funds, workers’ monies, or public funds had been invested in, or used for, 1MDB, or companies acting against the interests of workers or which are anti-union.
Solomon also called for transparency on how the government was investing workers’ retirement contributions to the EPF, as well as to the labour compensation fund Socso.
“Any decision on investment of EPF funds should be made by EPF contributors themselves,” Solomon said in a statement, pointing to widespread concern surrounding 1MDB, which he said “points towards a lack of governance and proper regulation of public funds”.
He said workers who contribute towards the EPF have no real say on how their funds are being invested and called it “stripping the rights of Malaysian workers” to know how their money is being used.
Solomon accused government authorities of an abuse of trust and pointed to Bank Negara Malaysia’s approval of an extension of non-performing loans as an example of “corporate interests being protected at the expense of the Malaysian public”.
He said large corporations were passing their risks to the public.
“It appears that there is no risk for large corporations to bear,” Solomon said.
Bank Negara, he said, “seems to be working for large corporations and at their mercy”.
Solomon pointed to reports that Malaysia has one of the biggest income inequalities in the region and said this was reflective of the failed policies of authorities entrusted with the well-being of Malaysians.
He also pointed to the low dividends of EPF compared to some other government funds such as Permodalan Nasional Berhad and Amanah Saham Bumiputera, despite EPF funds having larger funds and having been around for many more years.

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