KUCHING, May 31: National Union of Bank Employees (Nube) general secretary J. Solomon suggests for an independent trust fund set up with mandatory contributions from multinational corporations (MNCs) and banks, managed by prominent individuals with no government or political control to help assist those affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Solomon in a press statement today, said sustaining the livelihood of private sector workers and businesses requires the urgent setting up of a National Trust Fund since the government is lamenting that its coffers are dry.
“The government businesses, corporate, civil society and anyone with compassion to lend a helping hand must come forth to contribute to this fund to provide financial aid to the affected vulnerable groups that include B40 and M40 who suffer pay cuts, loss of jobs and individuals without fixed income and the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
“The National Trust Fund should be an independent body, free from any politicians or their agents’ influence. This is due to the huge trust deficit in the politicians and certain government agencies,” he said.
Solomon emphasised the custodians of the fund should be headed by a credible retired judge without any political affiliation who shall in return select a panel to consist of representatives from the stakeholders such as the relevant government agencies, trade union movement, private businesses, civil society and economists with people-centric leadership track records.
He said that the Emergency and a non-functioning Parliament enabled the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong to select a credible retired judge to set up the fund.
“No members among the custodians of the fund should be a politician or aligned to any political party to ensure accountability and to create trust among the contributors to the Fund. These custodians must serve voluntarily as a service to the nation.
“They must draw up just and inclusive guidelines to extend the financial aid to deserving individuals, families and SMEs. The guidelines’ and the recipients of the public funds must be published in the media. The custodians must be answerable to the “rakyat” with audited reports published monthly,” he added.
At the same time, Solomon pointed out that the National Trust Fund should also largely be based on contributions from the government-linked companies (GLCs) and government-linked investment companies (GLICs).
He explained seven GLICs control 35 of the top 100 listed companies in Malaysia and have a combined market capitalisation of 42 per cent of the total market capitalisation of the companies listed on Bursa Malaysia.
According to Solomon, these GLICs control over 68,000 companies directly and indirectly with minority interest.
“They are also involved in numerous sectors such as power, telecommunications, plantations, finance, healthcare, aviation and infrastructure and control most major financial institutions.
“Other contributors can be large private business corporations, MNCs and good Samaritans in the T20 category, philanthropists and we are confident Malaysians will generously contribute for the Fund. Even if every Malaysian contributed a minimum RM1, we will already have over RM30 million to start with,” he said.
He pointed out that failure to put the interest of the people at the forefront of this pandemic to provide families with financial support, particularly those in the B40, M40 and SMEs who have lost their source of income, will have long term detrimental effects on them and the society.
“The National Trust Fund will be the lifeline for an inclusive recovery of the people and the nation. The remaining fund post pandemic should be used to upgrade general hospitals and health care for the people, but managed by the same custodians.
“We call on all politicians to cease creating political sparks, prioritise people’s interest and join forces to urge the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to immediately invoke this mission for the benefit of the “rakyat”,” he said. — DayakDaily