So now the EPF is set to take over RHB.
The first question that comes to mind is, isn’t the EPF biting off more than it can chew? What does it know about managing a bank – or even supervising the management of a bank?
It already has plenty on its plate just managing its own funds – or rather, the public funds of EPF contributors – and ensuring that Malaysians get a decent rate of return on their pension savings.
If the EPF is so confident about managing a bank, perhaps it can tell us how and why it ended up holding a stake in a banking group which is now saddled with RM3.6 billion in debt.
That’s not all. I say, watch your EPF money closely. The EPF could also end up financing infrastructure projects under the so-called Private Finance Initiatives, which will finance RM20 billion worth of projects under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. I say “so-called” because the money is reportedly expected to come from the EPF, which manages public funds, your money – not private money.
This is the piece I wrote for Asia Times Online last October:
PENANG – Malaysia is poised to experiment with the next phase of its privatization process through the initiation of so-called private finance initiatives (PFIs). But the Malaysian version of the internationally recognized investment vehicles will be unique in that it will be the public rather than the private sector that takes the risks. Full article: Malaysia’s new-fangled privatisation fudge