Friday, February 25, 2011

Higher rate thrills MTUC


KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) welcomes the higher dividend paid out by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) for last year.

MTUC secretary-general Abdul Halim Mansor said the congress was happy with the decision to increase the dividend to 5.8 per cent, up from 2009's 5.65 per cent.

He said MTUC was also satisfied with EPF's explanation on its investments.

"The decision to increase the dividend from the previous year is a blessing.

"This is good news and will satisfy employees who rely on the fund for savings."

MTUC, he said, was happy with the improvement in EPF's service.

Halim said the higher dividend also showed that the country's economy was doing good.

Syazrah Arinah Abd Salam, 25, said the high dividend was good news for employees who depended on the fund for later use.

The 25-year-old UniAsia General Insurance finance executive said employees would not need to find other alternatives of savings.

Ichor System planner, purchaser and logistic assistant Siti Najwa Mohd Salim, 22, said: "The higher dividend benefits employees in the long run. It also inspires us to work harder."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Registration of Mayneu stayed by High Court

Circular No: 11/2011 17 February 2011

Salam NUBE,

This is to inform that the decision taken by the Director General of Trades Union to register Mayneu as an “in-house” has been stayed by the Kuala Lumpur High Court till 3.3.2011, when this case is fixed for case management.

This Order was given based on the Application for Judicial Review (ex-parte) filed by NUBE on 10.2.2011. The Appellate and Special Powers Division of the High Court granted the Interim Stay Order as stated above at about 8.40 am this morning.

NUBE made the Application as the DGTU committed several errors in law and/or fact and/or acted in excess and/or without jurisdiction in the Registration of Mayneu. Particularly, the DGTU clearly made a mistake in registering Mayneu when NUBE has been for over 50 years representing workers that Mayneu now intends to recruit.

This is the beginning of our counter actions against Mayneu that is Maybank Berhad’s puppet to destroy the livelihood and future of our members in Maybank.

NUBE had served the Notice regarding this matter to Maybank Berhad. In the event, any Mayneu rudiments continue to act as a Trade Union or there are Managers who become sales managers for Mayneu, report them to us immediate as their action will be in Contempt of Court.

One for all and all for one



Pecah amanah: Bekas s/u NUBE dipenjara 10 tahun

Bekas setiausaha agung Kesatuan Pekerja-Pekerja Bank Kebangsaan (NUBE), K Shanmugam hari ini dipenjarakan 10 tahun dan denda RM20,000 oleh Mahkamah Sesyen di Kuala Lumpur atas kesalahan pecah amanah dana kesatuan.

Hakim Azizah Mahamud membuat keputusan demikian setelah mendapati pihak pembelaan gagal membuktikan keraguan munasabah terhadap pertuduhan tersebut.

Hukuman itu dijatuhkan selepas Shanmugam didapati menyalah-gunakan dana NUBE pada 1996 membabitkan RM8 juta.

Hakim Azizah mengarahkan Shanmugam, 63, menjalani hukuman itu bermula hari ini, dan sekiranya gagal menjelaskan denda itu, dia boleh dipenjara enam bulan.

Shanmugam, bapa kepada empat orang anak itu, bernasib baik tidak dikenakan hukuman sebatan kerana faktor umur.

Mahkamah membenarkan permohonan pihak pembelaan bagi menangguhkan pelaksanaan hukuman sementara menunggu proses rayuan di Mahkamah Tinggi selesai.

"Mahkamah membenarkan permohonan penangguhan itu tetapi dengan syarat tambahan iaitu wang jaminan yang dikenakan terhadap tertuduh ditambah daripada RM50,000 kepada RM100,000 dengan seorang penjamin, selain pasport turut ditahan sehingga kes selesai," kata hakim Azizah.

Bagaimanapun mahkamah mengarahkan tertuduh membayar denda itu pada hari ini.

Azizah dalam penghakimannya berkata, pihak pendakwaan yang diwakili Timbalan Pendakwa Raya Farhan Read, berjaya membuktikan elemen kedudukan tertuduh sebagai setiausaha kesatuan itu bagi melakukan jenayah itu.

"Dan perkara ini (jawatannya ketika itu) diakui oleh tertuduh sendiri dan juga saksi-saksi pembelaan," katanya.

Hakim Azizah juga berkata keterangan saksi pihak pendakwaan turut membuktikan elemen bahawa tertuduh sememangnya diamanahkan wang itu oleh kesatuan.

Selain itu, katanya, Shanmugam gagal mengemukakan laporan berhubung pembelian saham itu pada mesyuarat kesatuan antara 1 Jun 1996 dan 31 Dis 1996.

"Mahkamah juga mendapati keterangan saksi pembelaan yang dikemukakan ketika perbicaraan tidak boleh diterima kerana tidak berada dalam mesyuarat yang dijalankan itu," katanya.

Terdahulu Shankar, ketika memohon agar anak guamannya dikenakan hukuman yang ringan, berkata Shanmugam menghidap penyakit jantung, darah tinggi dan kencing manis.

Mengikut pertuduhan, Shanmugam didakwa dengan curangnya melakukan pecah amanah terhadap dana itu dengan menjalankan pembelian saham secara kontra yang bertentangan dengan cara yang ditetapkan untuk melaksanakan amanah tersebut seperti yang terkandung dalam resolusi NUBE bertarikh 21 Okt 1994.

Dia didakwa melakukan kesalahan itu di pejabat Kesatuan Kebangsaan Pekerja-Pekerja Bank, Bangunan Nube, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman pada Mac 1996.

- Bernama

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MTUC ‘report cards’ on workers’ rights

KUCHING: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) will publish a series of “log books” or report cards on the country’s lack of progress in fulfilling workers’ rights.

The union said it would begin the programme, which would comprise press conferences and issuing statements, in the coming weeks, to capitalise on the run-up to the Sarawak election.

The congress’ Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo said the log books would highlight lopsided policies like the Sarawak Labour Ordinance, which he said contained exemptions in favour of big businesses.

He cited factors like overtime pay in the timber industry as concerns MTUC would bring up.

“However, it must be made very clear MTUC is an apolitical organisation. The congress does not take sides. Our members support any politician or political party willing to upgrade workers’ rights,” Lo said yesterday, adding that a large part of the reports would focus on matters in rural areas.

“It is very disappointing that many elected rural representatives have not done enough.

“This has left MTUC, a small organisation with limited resources, to take up the issues.”

In Sarawak, there are about 16,000 MTUC members.

“When you add up our family members, we are actually a very influential group,” he said.

Lo said it was high time the government paid more attention to ensuring its goal of creating a high-income nation was realised fairly.

He said economic wealth must evenly distributed, and that required better legislation.

Economist: Invest in higher yielding assets and overseas funds

EPF/KWSP Dividend History
• 1983-87 – 8.50%
• 1988-94 – 8.00%
• 1995 – 7.50%
• 1996 – 7.70%
• 1997-98 – 6.70%
• 1999 – 6.84%
• 2000 – 6.00%
• 2001 – 5.00%
• 2002 – 4.25%
• 2003 – 4.50%
• 2004 – 4.75%
• 2005 – 5.00%
• 2006 – 5.15%
• 2007 – 5.80%
• 2008 – 4.50%
• 2009 – 5.65%
• 2010 – 5.80%


PETALING JAYA: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) should diversify its investments into more higher-yielding asset classes and overseas funds to be able to declare higher dividends in the future.

“It (the EPF) is in the right direction (but) it needs to diversify its exposure to higher yielding and overseas investments,” said RAM Holdings Bhd chief economist Dr Yeah Kim Leng.

On overseas investments, Yeah said the EPF would need to be watchful of the particular country and its currency risks.
Dr Yeah Kim Leng

Last September, the EPF announced it would invest 1bil (RM4.88bil) in properties in Britain.

The investments, which would be for long term, was expected to yield 6% to 7% annually, the EPF had said at that time.

Yeah said the EPF's investment in real estate, especially in the long term, could help elevate returns.

On Sunday, the EPF declared a dividend of 5.8% for 2010, up from 5.65% the year before. It will pay a total of RM21.61bil to members, an increase from the 2009 dividend payout of RM19.37bil.

EPF declared that the rate, which was approved by the Finance Minister, was the “highest dividend payout amount ever”.

EPF's total investment assets stood at RM440.52bil as at Dec 31 last year while its gross investment income was RM24.06bil.

The EPF said that equities was its largest investment income contributor at 45.45% or RM10.94bil, followed by loans and bonds, Malaysian Government Securities, money market instruments and property and miscellaneous income.

Two-thirds of EPF's total investment assets last year remained in low risk fixed-income instruments with stable streams of income.

Yeah said the 5.8% dividend payout was actually above expectations.

“The (5.8%) payout is reasonably good, given the prevailing low interest environment at the moment. Given the financial turmoil in the global economy, many pension funds were affected but the EPF performed in a commendable way.”

Yeah said EPF returns were positive as long as they were above inflation levels.

“With inflation at about 1.8% to 1.9% in 2010 and the EPF declaring 5.8%, than contributors would be receiving real returns of about 4%,” he said.

Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan welcomed the higher rate but said it could be better, adding that contributors were expecting at least 6%.

“The EPF needs to extend their investments overseas. Currently, the bulk of them (investments) are within the country,” he said.

Employers oppose standardised salaries, prefer skill improvements


PETALING JAYA: Workers unions and public interest groups welcome the proposal to set up a National Wages Consultative Council to study a single minimum wage for all sectors but employers are still opposing a standard minimum wage for all sectors.

“A single minimum wage will ensure better income distribution for all,” said Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Mohd Khalid Atan.

He said MTUC had asked for a RM900 minimum wage plus RM300 hardship allowance for all sectors during week-long minimum wage laboratory discussions by various stakeholders which ended on Monday.

He was commenting on reports that the Government would set up the council to study the single minimum wage for all sectors before it is incorporated into the proposed National Minimum Wages Act 2011.

Mohd Khalid said the proposal, which is expected to be tabled in Parliament in March, was generally accepted except by the Malaysian Employers Association (MEF).

MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said employers did not want a minimum wage system but wanted the Government to enhance workers’ skills and promote skills certification.

“Employers are willing pay for certain set of skills and subsequently, workers’ wages will improve,” he said, adding that workers would suffer if employers could not pay high wages and fold their business.

“If we want to be a high-income nation, it ought to be based on skills and performance,” he said.

The issue of illegal workers must also be addressed because it pulls down wage levels, he said.

Cuepacs secretary-general Ahmad Shah Mohd suggested that the Government implement minimum wage for civil servants according to the officer’s minimum pension rates.

Fomca secretary-general Muham­mad Sha’ani Abdullah said minimum wage would not eliminate poverty, hence, the Govern­ment needed to subsidise health care, education, housing and public transport.

Goods and Services Tax should also be implemented soon to make companies more transparent rather than hide their income and claim that they could not pay a minimum wage, he said.

Security Services Association of Malaysia president Datuk Shaheen Mirza Habib said a single minimum wage system for all sectors would be better than different minimum wages for various sectors.

“I would not want my security workers to move to another industry just because the industry pays better,” he said.