PUTRAJAYA: The Government, alarmed over the more than half billion ringgit losses reported from investments in unit trusts involving Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors, has directed the EPF to impose stricter conditions on such investments.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who is also the Finance Minister, said the EPF must be convinced that any withdrawal meant for investment met all the stipulated conditions.
“This is most unfortunate and regretful for those who withdrew their contributions to find their money invested in non-performing unit trust schemes,” he told the monthly gathering of the Prime Minister’s Department. Also present was his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“Their EPF money is for their future. When you invest, do not simply put your money in schemes that don’t perform. There are good ones like the PNB (Permodalan Nasional Bhd).
Abdullah said those who had suffered losses should stop investing temporarily because any losses would not be good for the future of their families.
A Malay daily reported over the weekend that EPF contributors who invested an estimated RM600mil in unit trust schemes had suffered losses. Following the report, various quarters, including workers’ unions, had asked the Government and the EPF to stop such withdrawals.
Under the EPF’s investment scheme, the amount of savings that can be withdrawn for investment should not be less than RM1,000 and not more than 20% of the amount exceeding RM50,000 in Account 1.
The Prime Minister said he was aware that some contributors would question the government’s directive.
“Some people can say ‘This is my money, I can take it anytime I like’,” Abdullah added. “But you must remember, the Government is doing this to protect your interest.”
The Prime Minister also spoke on slander by certain quarters on 9th Malaysia Plan (9MP) projects, alleging that projects worth millions of ringgit had been awarded.
“These are blatant lies spread by people to put down the Government and to create suspicion among the people,” he said.
He also reminded government officers to study the background of those bidding for projects under the 9MP so that only credible ones were selected.