Ex-minister issues response to Malay Mail’s report on new HRDF appointments

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
File picture shows M.Kulasegaran arriving at Yayasan Albukhary on February 29,2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Following the removal of Datuk Noor Farida Mohd Ariffin as chairman of the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), former human resources (HR) minister M. Kulasegaran has responded with his side of the story on the appointments of those within HRDF during his tenure.

Specifically, in response to a Malay Mail article reporting the change in HRDF’s leadership, Kulasegaran spelled out the requirements under the Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB) Act 2001 and the powers afforded to the sitting HR minister.

It states how the PSMB Act gives powers to the HR minister to appoint 10 representatives from employers, three from the government and relevant public sector agencies, one each from the HR and Finance Ministries, and a chief executive.

Kulasegaran then detailed the efforts made during his time, claiming to have assured all agencies under the ministry that it was more transparent and accountable to taxpayers while calling for numerous town hall sessions and forming independent committees to decide on the plight of workers.

The former minister included the formation of the HRDF Governance Oversight Committee (GOC) under his tenure, which was tasked with reviewing all aspects of the HRDF’s governance framework and to ensure it functions in an effective and efficient manner.

The GOC was also responsible for supporting the operations of HRDF and to take care of the interests and well-being of its main stakeholders who are HRDF’s registered employers and Malaysian employees.

“Following the publication of the HRDF GOC Summary Report, I called for a town hall with the Fund’s registered employers, employer associations and members of the media; intended to inform on the observations made by the GOC on the Fund.

“As well as to assure them that transparency, meritocracy and the best interest of registered employers and their employees will remain the cornerstone of the Fund’s vision, mission, and objective.

“Towards this, I would like to place on record my appreciation to the Fund’s Leadership, including its former Chairman, Datuk Noor Farida (Mohd) Ariffin,” he wrote in a statement today.

The statement is a response to Malay Mail’s report of the removal of five board members by the current HR Minister Datuk Seri M. Saravanan, including Noor Farida and former chief executive Elanjelian Venugopal.

Both Noor Farida and Elanjelian received notifications from Saravanan on March 16 informing them of the contract termination effective the next day.

Noor Farida and Elanjelian were appointed under Kulasegaran’s tenure, with their original contracts set to expire in January 2021 and July 2020 respectively.

“I also take this opportunity to wish the new Minister of Human Resources and the Ministry all the best and look forward to seeing all the agencies and departments under the Ministry continue to deliver their mandates in a transparent and clear manner,” he added.

Noor Farida was soon replaced by Saravanan with Datuk Nelson Renganathan, who is the chairman of Regent International School.

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