HRDF Fund mis­ap­pro­pri­ated to buy prop­erty, says Kula

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - HOME -

KUALA LUMPUR: A large sum of money from the Hu­man Re­sources De­vel­op­ment Fund’s (HRDF) Con­sol­i­dated Fund had been mis­ap­pro­pri­ated by some mem­bers of the pre­vi­ous man­age­ment, in­clud­ing to pur­chase prop­erty in the coun­try with­out the ap­proval from the HRDF Board.

Hu­man Re­sources Min­is­ter M. Kula Se­garan in re­veal­ing the find­ings by the Gov­er­nance Over­sight Com­mit­tee (GOC) said the in­ves­ti­ga­tions found that there were some el­e­ments of fraud as well, in­clud­ing in high salaries and bonuses paid to se­lec­tive man­age­ment staff.

“Large sums of money were also di­verted with­out the author­ity of the HRDF Board for less im­pact­ful train­ing pro­grammes,” he said in his speech dur­ing a town hall ses­sion with em­ployer as­so­ci­a­tions and reg­is­tered em­ploy­ers yes­ter­day.

The min­is­ter said that there were also ev­i­dence of abuse of power with some train­ing providers and cer­tain HRDF man­age­ment per­son­nel misusing the Con­sol­i­dated Fund in the name of train­ing.

“In these in­stances, the HRDF Board was only in­formed af­ter the money were spent. In other in­stances, the man­age­ment ex­ceeded their author­ity and ap­proved projects be­yond their au­tho­rised limit,” he said.

Kula Se­garan said the gov­ern­ment would pur­sue le­gal ac­tion against the par­ties in­volved, adding that two po­lice re­ports had been lodged on the mat­ter since the fi­nal re­port by GOC was pre­sented to the HRDF Board on Oct 6.

Speak­ing at a news con­fer­ence later, the min­is­ter, how­ever, did not re­veal the sum of money and said he would leave it to the po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate.

“Whether it is RM1 or RM1 mil­lion, it does not make any dif­fer­ence, a theft is a theft, a CBT (crim­i­nal breach of trust) is CBT, wrong is wrong,” he said.

He also urged the HRDF Board to take the rec­om­men­da­tions made by the GOC to strengthen the Con­sol­i­dated Fund and that it should be as trans­par­ent as pos­si­ble and be ac­count­able to the pub­lic.

“Its pri­mary fo­cus should be to train, re­train and up­skill the work­force. It shouldn’t be side­tracked to do other things. They (HRDF) are not like in­vest­ment com­pany or not a com­pany in busi­ness. Their core busi­ness is train­ing,” he said.

The HRDF came into pub­lic scru­tiny in June this year fol­low­ing an ex­pose on al­le­ga­tions of mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of fund amount­ing to RM300 mil­lion by its pre­vi­ous man­age­ment.

Fol­low­ing that, a five-mem­ber GOC led by for­mer in­ter­na­tional trade and in­dus­try sec­re­tary gen­eral Tan Sri Re­becca Sta Maria was formed on June 28 and was tasked to re­view all as­pects of the board’s gov­er­nance frame­work.

Sta Maria, who was also present at the news con­fer­ence, said the com­mit­tee had also looked into is­sues sur­round­ing the con­sol­i­dated fund such as whether there was le­gal ba­sis for the set­ting up the con­sol­i­dated fund.

Un­der the Pem­ban­gu­nan Sum­ber Manu­sia Ber­had Act 2001, reg­is­tered em­ploy­ers with HRD are re­quired to con­trib­ute one per­cent levy on their em­ployee’s monthly salary to the fund, where 30 per­cent of the levy chan­nelled to the Con­sol­i­dated Fund since 2016 to help train em­ploy­ees from small com­pa­nies that could not af­ford to con­trib­ute to HRDF and em­ploy­ees from the B40 cat­e­gory. - Ber­nama

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