‘MIL­LIONS IN HRDF FUNDS MIS­USED’

Civil, crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings will be launched, says min­is­ter

New Straits Times - - FRONT PAGE -

MONEY from the Hu­man Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Fund was di­verted to the pur­chase of prop­erty and pay­ment of hefty bonuses to se­lected in­di­vid­u­als The hu­man re­sources min­is­ter says there are ‘el­e­ments of fraud in the use of the fund’, and that court ac­tion will be in­sti­tuted.

ASIGNIFICANT por­tion of money be­long­ing to the Hu­man Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Fund (HRDF) had been mis­used by in­di­vid­u­als linked to the pre­vi­ous man­age­ment.

Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter M. Ku­lasegaran said the money, which amounted to mil­lions of ring­git, was used to buy prop­erty and pay salaries and bonuses of se­lected em­ploy­ees.

Com­ment­ing on the HRDF’s Gov­er­nance Over­sight Com­mit­tee re­port yes­ter­day at a town hall ses­sion with em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions and reg­is­tered em­ploy­ers here, he said in some cases, the acts were done with­out the board of directors’ knowl­edge.

HRDF, formed in 1993 as the Hu­man Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Coun­cil, is an agency un­der the Hu­man Re­sources Min­istry. HRDF was given the man­date by the govern­ment to boost the work­force to con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s vision of be­com­ing a high-in­come econ­omy.

“Along the way, th­ese re­quire­ments and objectives took a back seat, and the fund was di­verted to ac­tiv­i­ties that were less im­pact­ful.

“It was found that there were el­e­ments of fraud in the use of the fund,” he said.

He said some mem­bers of HRDF’s pre­vi­ous board of directors did not dis­close their per­sonal in­ter­ests to the board.

“We will launch civil and crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings against them.”

He said two re­ports were lodged last week on the fi­nan­cial abuse.

“We can­not re­veal the de­tails due to le­gal is­sues. HRDF has ob­tained le­gal ad­vice. Abuse of power and fi­nan­cial abuse did take place and the se­nior man­age­ment has lodged re­ports af­ter be­ing in­formed of the de­vel­op­ments,” he said.

He said there should not be any fin­ger-point­ing, and it was best to leave the mat­ter to the au­thor­i­ties.

He said ef­fec­tive Nov 15, the govern­ment would dis­con­tinue the 30 per cent de­duc­tion from the levy con­trib­uted by reg­is­tered em­ploy­ers to HRDF’s Con­sol­i­dated Fund.

He said the de­ci­sion was made af­ter de­lib­er­a­tion with HRDF’s Gov­er­nance Over­sight Com­mit­tee, board of directors and man­age­ment.

He said the fi­nal pay­ment to the Con­sol­i­dated Fund was for Oc­to­ber.

Un­der the Hu­man Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Bhd Act 2001, reg­is­tered em­ploy­ers with HRDF are re­quired to con­trib­ute a one per cent levy on their em­ployee’s monthly salary to the fund, where 30 per cent of the levy is chan­nelled to the Con­sol­i­dated Fund since 2016 to train em­ploy­ees from small com­pa­nies that could not af­ford to con­trib­ute to HRDF and em­ploy­ees from the Bot­tom 40 per cent cat­e­gory.

Ku­lasegaran said al­though em­ploy­ers had the im­pres­sion that their con­tri­bu­tions to the Con­sol­i­dated Fund should not be used to train non-con­trib­u­tors, they should look at the big­ger pic­ture as they were help­ing the coun­try train the work­force.

HRDF chief ex­ec­u­tive V.E. Elan­jelian said HRDF was look­ing at ini­tia­tives to max­imise the RM200 mil­lion in the Con­sol­i­dated Fund for the ben­e­fit of em­ploy­ees.

BER­NAMA PIC

Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter M. Ku­lasegaran speak­ing at a HRDF town hall in Kuala Lumpur yes­ter­day.

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