KUALA LUMPUR: Any notion that the latest Employees Provident Fund (EPF) dividend payout was artificially high due to the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14) and will drop drastically next year is false.
Political blogger Lim Sian See said as dividend rate was announced based on performance of the previous year, thus there is no truth to dividend rates being influenced by election year.
“For example, the dividend rates for 2013 (declared in 2014) and 2014 (declared in 2015) were higher than the rate in 2012, which was declared in 2013, the year when 13th General Election took place.
“Thus, such claim that a dividend rate being influenced by election is baseless. EPF is professional,” he said in a statement.
Yesterday, EPF declared dividend of 6.90 per cent and 6.40 per cent for conventional and Syariah savings, respectively.
The payout for conventional was the highest since 1997.
Lim said the high EPF dividend announced for last year was well-justified.
“Whoever that is still in doubt, should have a look at the quarterly performance announced by EPF over the past year as well as at the performance of local and global stock markets.
“All these will prove that EPF has done well last year.”
He said there will always be people who are unhappy with the dividend rate, be it low or high.
“When the dividend rate is low, they said the country is in crisis and when the rate is high, it is due to election.
“There will also be people saying that EPF had gone bankrupt. They have been saying that since 1960s, but almost 60 years on, EPF has still not gone bankrupt and no one has ever been denied their rightful withdrawal.”
Lim also said that EPF dividend was on a downward trend during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad tenure as prime minister.
“In fact, Dr Mahathir had the dubious honour of being the prime minister in charge when EPF declared its lowest ever rates of 4.25 (2002) per cent and 4.5 (2003) per cent since Malaysia was formed.
“This was not only due to the recession in 1998 but due to the capital controls imposed when he pegged our ringgit.
“This stopped a lot of investments into our country – causing our economy and stock market to under-perform and consequently, our EPF to under-perform.
“The fact that the EPF rates were low in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004 is concrete proof of this under-performance.”