KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian goverment has denied claims that monies from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), a compulsory savings and retirement plan for private-sector workers, are being used to cover wealth fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad's (1MDB) debts.
Deputy Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said that EPF had not made any direct investment in 1MDB.
"This is not true and there is no such thing," he said when replying to a question raised by Barisan Nasional MP for Kalabakan Abdul Ghapur Salleh in Parliament on Wednesday (Oct 21).
However, Datuk Johari clarified that EPF had invested in bonds of power producers Jima Energy Ventures Sdn Bhd and Panglima Power Sdn Bhd, which belonged to 1MDB.
"However, EPF's investments into the two companies were done before they were acquired by 1MDB," he added.
He was responding to Datuk Seri Ghapur's quiry on claims that the government was dipping into EPF to "cover 1MDB's holes".
He also allayed concerns raised by Parti Keadilan Rakyat MP for Pantai Dalam Nurul Izzah Anwar over the RM1.52 billion in bond investments.
He noted the return rates on the bonds invested were between 7.7 per cent and 9.85 per cent for Jima Energy and 8.25 per cent and 8.35 per cent for Panglima Power.
He added that the EPF's investment in the bonds were not jeopardised as they enjoyed triple AAA and double AA ratings.
Datuk Johari assured lawmakers that EPF adopts strict guidelines and long-term strategies to ensure that their investments were protected to yield returns for its members.
"The EPF ranks the seventh-best in the world after Japan, Norway, South Korea, China, Canada and Singapore," he said, adding that EPF had a total of RM667.21 billion in its coffers.