Najib running out of money? RM1.5bil taken from EPF to fund Nong Chik’s housing scheme

Maclean Patrick, Hornbill Unleashed

At a time when other governments are looking into austerity programs to cushion themselves from a global recession, Malaysia is spending its retirement fund on ill-guided projects. And when a government of the day – the UMNO-BN – unceremoniously plays around with money its citizens have toiled hard for and set apart for their retirement needs, one thing is clear – nothing is safe anymore.

The use of RM1.5bil from the Employees Provident Fund in a scheme offering home loans to those who cannot qualify for bank financing will not be detrimental to EPF contributors, claimed Prime Minister Najib Razak. FT minister Raja Nong Chik gave further guarantee that the government would safeguard EPF’s interests, saying the deal ensured secure financial returns for the EPF.

When so hush-hush then

Yet, the Najib government did not consult the EPF board of employee representatives when it decided to use the RM1.5 billion to give the home loans to unqualified buyers, union officials themselves reported. The EPF board of employee representatives comprise Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan, National Union of Teaching Profession (NUTP) secretary-general Loke Yim Pheng, Sarawak Bank Employees Union (SBEU) president Hadiah Leen and Sabah Commercial Employees Union (SCEU) general secretary Azlin Awang Chee. All these officials were left in the dark as to the EPF’s plans in financing 20,000 homes in the Kuala Lumpur city area.

With no consultation or even a discussion with their stakeholders, the EPF’s management in collaboration with the Najib administration is robbing the contributions of hard-working Malaysians to basically finance something the government could do with its own funds. And for the purpose of giving Raja Nong Chik a filip when he contests in the 13th general election. Nong Chik will get to boast, while Malaysian workers fret over whether their loan will turn into a bad debt.

EPF is not UMNO’s piggy-bank

Why the need to rob workers of their retirement money? And does not the BN government know that our EPF money is not a piggy bank they can simply dip their hands into just to finance their political schemes?

Has Najib taken into account the sentiments of the workers in Sabah and Sarawak who also contribute to the EPF? After all, the RM1.5 billion will be used to finance a “charity program” faraway in the nation’s capital, when East Malaysians are desperately in need of basic infrastructure – as fundamental as clean water and electricity.

And in robbing EPF to fund 20,000 houses in Kuala Lumpur, Najib has ignored the 4.92 million East Malaysians who are also citizens of Malaysia. This deal must surely hurt Malaysians from Sabah and Sarawak, it is a huge snub from the federal government. Once again, they are left at the mercy of tyrant chief ministers Musa Aman and Taib Mahmud because they never seem to appear on the radar of the UMNO-led federal government.

Rich in resources, yet Sabahans and Sarawakians are forced to remain poor and reliant on clumsy home-improvisations while fellow citizens in Peninsula Malaysia get the best deal. Additing salt to the fund is that a lot of Malaysia’s prosperity is funded on the resources of Sabah and Sarawak.