Friday, January 05, 2007

EPF must be careful with funds

Financial prudence needed

It was shocking to read the report “EPF nearly conned of RM15m over defunct company”(Star Jan 4).

It was indeed a relief that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) managed to halt the deal in time that could have otherwise resulted in paying a hefty sum of the taxpayers’ money to a defunct company. How could the EPF be so careless and complacent? How is that it was not aware the company that it dealt with was defunct? Did the EPF follow the proper procedures and guidelines in handling the deal? These are questions that need to be answered. These need to be investigated and remedial measures put into place to prevent such blunders in the future.

The EPF must take great care of their funds as they are the result of hard work, the sweat and toil, of many poor workers. If the funds are allowed to be siphoned off by unscrupulous means by the lackadaisical attitude of the managers, it would leave the members stranded in very pitiful state on retirement, a time when they really need that money.

As the custodian of retirement funds of millions of its members, many of whom are meager wage earners, the EPF must ensure stringent procedures and guidelines are in place so that all investment transactions are carried out in the most effective and transparent manner.

A high level of financial prudence is required of the EPF.The Board must be responsible to its members and exercise great care before investing their contributions on various projects. Investments on projects that are low-risk should be preferred even though they may not reap huge profits. Using EPF funds for speculation and high risk investments can be likened to gambling away with the hard earned life long savings of its members, many of whom are from the lower category working class.

Dr.Chris Anthony

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