Dr Mahathir reminded of his statement made in 2005

KUALA LUMPUR: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been advised to read a statement he made 12 years ago, saying that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) should invest more of its funds overseas so that its members can get better dividends.

Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek (pix) said Dr Mahathir had made the statement on April 26, 2005, and that it came as a surprise when Dr Mahathir issued a contradicting statement, by recently criticising Khazanah and EPF’s investments in the United States.

“Here is the news to remind him (Dr Mahathir) which can be read at: http://tinyurl.com/epf-DrM2. At that time, he (Dr Mahathir) said that EPF had a huge fund size of RM240 billion and that investing it all locally will mean low returns. He added that EPF must invest overseas in order to increase its income.

“Today, as at the end of June 2017, EPF’s fund size has reached RM759.78 billion – more than threefold of what it was when Tun Dr Mahathir made that statement,” he said in a statement, today.

Ahmad Shabery, who is also an Umno Supreme Council member, said EPF had clarified that their overseas investments, or 29% of its total investment assets, contributed 32.5% to the total investment income in Q2 (Quarter 2) 2017.

Ahmad Shabery said the overseas investments had also given an annualised return on investment (ROI) of 11.10% as at June 2017 – significantly outperforming EPF’s local investments.

“I am surprised to know how Tun (Dr Mahathir) now changed his mind and position in criticising Khazanah and EPF’s investments in the US. It shows he is playing hate politics while disregarding the welfare and interests of the people.”

According to Ahmad Shabery, investing overseas was nothing new for both Khazanah and EPF.

He said Khazanah had opened an office in the Silicon Valley, US in 2013 and that in 2014, Khazanah made more than US$1 billion in the USA listing of Alibaba – a five-fold return for their investment.

Much of funds for their current US$400 million investment in technology firms in the US have come from the Alibaba profits.

“EPF had also recorded big successes in investing in infrastructure projects overseas. In the year 2013, EPF together with Government-linked companies Sime Darby and SP Setia, whose major shareholder is PNB, took up a multi-billion pound project to develop the landmark Battersea project in London,” he said.

The Battersea project, he said, has turned out to be an unqualified success that will mean many billions of pounds profits for these companies.

“I am sure Tun and (his opposition pact) Pakatan must not second-guess the investment decisions of the professional managers of our funds as they have had excellent track records in overseas investments.

“Their success has meant that ordinary Malaysians have benefited from their decision to invest overseas. Is it wrong for the funds to seek out the best investments – whether locally or overseas – that will maximise returns for the savings of the ordinary Malaysians?,” he added. — Bernama

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