KUALA LUMPUR: Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Salleh Said Keruak has denied that the recent announcement of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) dividend, the highest in two decades, has anything to do with the upcoming general election.
He added that the opposition’s move to call it an “election year dividend” had been anticipated.
“Actually, EPF dividend rates have been rising gradually over the last few years and not just this year.
“In 2014 and 2015, EPF declared a higher dividend than 2013, which was also a general election year, so it has nothing to do with the election,” Salleh said in a blog post last night.
He said if the EPF had announced a very low dividend this year, the opposition would also use it as proof that the economy was bad and the country would be bankrupt.
“The mantra ‘Malaysia will be bankrupt’ has been trumpeted for many years, but what is happening is actually stronger economic growth. According to economic reports of other countries, Malaysia is among the best in the region,” he added.
Salleh said foreign economists had also anticipated a higher growth for Malaysia.
“The number of Malaysians travelling abroad for vacation has also increased each year based on collected statistics. More than 26 million foreign tourists also came to Malaysia in 2016 and this is expected to increase to 30 million by 2020.
“This is not a sign that the nation is beset with problems,” he said. – Bernama