PUTRAJAYA: Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani yesterday denied that the 6.9 per cent dividend rate by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was “election candy”, saying it merely reflects the country’s strong economic growth.
He said the 6.9 per cent return for conventional accounts – the highest since 1997 – and 6.4 per cent for shariah savings were a result of EPF’s domestic and international investments.
“That’s why, to me, the dividend rates for the conventional and shariah schemes are good and cannot be considered as election candy. It has got nothing to do with the upcoming general election.
“If the performance is good, the dividends will be (good) as well. In 2016, our economy grew just 4.2 per cent. That is because the global economy was the same. So what is being reflected is what’s actually happening in our country,” he said.
On Bank Negara Malaysia’s announcement of a 5.9 per cent growth in the fourth quarter of last year compared with 4.2 per cent in the same period the year before, Johari said the performance was something to be proud of, as Malaysia had managed to show good economic growth amid global economic uncertainty.
“All four quarters of last year showed good numbers with an average of 4.9 per cent, and we forecast a strong growth in 2018 with gross domestic product expanding between 5.0 per cent and 5.5 per cent.
“This growth indirectly testifies to the effectiveness of the government’s policies all this while, because our economy is still growing despite the uncertain global environment,” he said.” – Bernama