Director-General of Trade Union erred for calling MTUC's bid to picket on 21 May 2003 illegal

Press Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Tuesday): Yesterday, the Director-General of Trade Union Zulkifli Abdullah has argued that the MTUC's bid to picket in front of EPF offices tomorrow is illegal. He also threatened to take action against any participating union.

We want to remind Zulkifli Abdullah that he, as a civil servant, should stay away from playing politics on this matter. He should know pretty well that every Malaysian, whether he or she is a unionist or not, has the right to voice his or her grievances against the EPF. The unionists in fact have a moral obligation to act in the interests of the workers.

The 4.25% dividend that was declared for the year 2002 was the lowest in 40 years. It was really too low and will certainly jeopardise the future of many workers, especially those coming from the lower income sectors. The leaders of MTUC and its affiliates have the right to picket in protest against the low dividend announced by the EPF.

DAP also supports the move by the MTUC to raise the guaranteed minimum dividend to 5 % from the current 2.5%. If Amanah Saham Nasional investors have the privilege of guaranteed dividend/ bonus of 10%, we do not see why 10.3 million members cannot be accorded the guaranteed minimum dividend of 5%. This is necessary to ensure that people will have sufficient to retire on.

The dividends that were declared for 2002 by ASN, ASB and LTAT were all way above the 4.25% mark. All these investment bodies enjoy "golden shares" from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Why can't the Government accord the same treatment for EPF?

!0.3 million EPF members deserve much better annual dividend. We urge all members of EPF to participate in the pickets initiated by MTUC at 4 pm tomorrow. It is our right to safeguard our own future.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity secretary