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Kulasegaran brushes off allegation of installing cronies in HRDF

Published:  |  Modified:

Human Resources Minister M Kulasegaran has defended the recent appointments to the board of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF).

According to the Ipoh Barat MP, the new appointees are all trustworthy former corporate titans.

“We are not going to appoint (former prime minister) Najib (Abdul Razak). Although there are recommendations, an evaluation process still needs to take place,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.

Critics raised concerns over Kulasegaran installing cronies into HRDF after he appointed a law firm to act as a collection agent for unpaid HRDF dues.

The allegations were spread by those who were unhappy that they were not appointed, the minister said.

“You do not get it, so you get upset, lah. (We) cannot satisfy everybody,” he said.

While Kulasegaran admitted that he knew most of the board members, he declined to confirm if he knew them in a personal capacity.

'Look at the credentials of the appointees'

“Doesn't matter. Does it matter?” he said, adding that the people should instead look at the credentials of the appointees.

“Previously, when they were in private sector, they were earning RM150,000 monthly.

“They are retired now and I decided they were movers and shakers of the industry, hence they should be taken in to serve. It is a national duty. These people came in to rejuvenate and bring their expertise,” he said.

Citing the appointment of the former managing director of Hume Industries Bhd, Quah Thain Khan, as an example, Kulasegaran said the former corporate bigwig brought in new ideas.

“That is how we formed the Governance Oversight Committee (GOC), the first among all GLCs, which is to correct the wrongs (of the previous administration) and suggest ways to overcome them.

"(People) can make allegations, but all (appointments) are above board,” Kulasegaran said.

Selection policy

Meanwhile, the Human Resources Development Fund has clarified that the appointment of the fund's board members and panel lawyers were made based on criteria set by the fund's policy.

"Please be informed that the selection of the fund's board members follow the 'Section 7: The Board of the Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad 2001 Act' while the appointment of the fund's panel lawyers is according to their areas of expertise and vetted by an in-house legal team after registering with the fund. 

"As of today, the Fund has eighteen (18) lawyers on its panel," said the fund's corporate communications unit in a statement to Malaysiakini.

It said that when allegations of corruptions at the fund surfaced in May 2018, the minister had set up an independent panel called the HRDF Governance Oversight Committee (GOC) headed by the former secretary-general of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry, Rebecca Sta Maria.

She was to look into the alleged misappropriations as well as conflicts of interest at the HRDF and the Ministry of Human Resources and the HRDF have transparent with the disclosure of the GOC findings available here, said the statement.   

"The fund recently welcomed its chairperson, Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin (the former Malaysian ambassador to the Netherlands) who was appointed by the prime minister.

"The fund pledges to continue its efforts to train 1.2 million local employees this year through its six action plans targeting at the pre-employment, employment and post-employment markets while upholding transparency as its virtue," added the statement.

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