PUTRAJAYA: The 6.9 per cent dividend rate declared by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) on Saturday the highest since 1997 is not an "election candy” but reflects the country's strong economic growth, said Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Johari Abdul Ghani.
He said the 6.9 per cent return for conventional accounts and 6.4 per cent for shariah savings came about as a result of EPF's domestic and international investments.
"That's why, to me, the dividend rates for the conventional and shariah schemes are good and are not election candy. It has got nothing to do with the upcoming election.
"If the performance is good, the dividends will be (good) as well. In 2016 our economy grew just 4.2 per cent what to do if the global economy was also like that (growing slowly). So what is being reflected is what's actually happening in our country,” he said.
Johari was speaking to the media after welcoming home 2018 Asian Cycling Championships individual time trial (men masters) champion Dr Norhasmat Abdul Aziz here today.
Dr Norhasmat, who is Principal Assistant Secretary (Policy and Implementation of Goods and Services Tax) at the Ministry of Finance's Tax Division, clinched the Asian title at the championships held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, on Feb 9.
On Bank Negara Malaysia's announcement of a 5.9 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of last year (2016: 4.2 per cent), Johari said the performance was something to be proud of, as Malaysia managed to show good economic growth amid global economic uncertainty.
"All the four quarters of last year showed good numbers with an average of 4.9 per cent and we forecast a strong growth in 2018 with gross domestic product expanding between 5.0 and 5.5 per cent.
"This growth indirectly testifies to the effectiveness of the government's policies all this while, because our economy is still growing despite the uncertain global environment,” he added. - Bernama