Former minister calls for probe into firms using bogus names to funnel Penjana hiring fund

·2-min read
Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran speaks during a press conference in Ipoh March 5, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran speaks during a press conference in Ipoh March 5, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

KUALA LUMPUR, May 18 — Former human resources minister M. Kulasegaran has urged the government to investigate claims that some firms fake employment data to gain funds meant to incentivise hiring disbursed under the Penjana programme.

The Penjana hiring incentive programme is an economic recovery incentive under the Ministry of Human Resource, administered by Socso's National Employment Services to promote job creation among employers while increasing employment prospects.

Kulasegaran, DAP Member of Parliament for Ipoh Barat, said dubious employers allegedly abused such an arrangement by obtaining or applying for the Penjana incentive without actually hiring the individuals concerned.

“This is done by maintaining a list of names of individuals without employing them,” he said in a statement.

The allegation has fuelled speculation that these firms could have accessed sensitive employment data from Socso. If true, the former minister said the authorities must investigate if there was a clear breach of the Personal Data Protection Act 2010 (PDPA).

“The people also ought to know how this information is used,” he stressed.

A state lawmaker from the same party had already filed several police reports urging the authorities to probe claims that names of people had been registered at Sosco as contributors even when they have not worked before.

In her reports, Sabai state assemblyman Kamache Doray Rajoo pointed to a firm by the name Synergy Communication on Technology Sdn Bhd, which she claimed had enlisted these names as new hires in the company.

Synergy Communication was said to have applied for the Penjana hiring incentives. Malay Mail could not independently verify the information at the time of writing.

Kulasegaran said the allegations should raise concern about accountability and supervision of taxpayer’s money, and that the government has a duty to be transparent.

The former minister has called on his successor Datuk Seri Saravanan Murugan to explain this.

“These malpractices have deprived the youth who have not been employed for months now, from training programs that require no deduction from Socso and Employment insurance schemes,” he said.

“In other words, fresh graduates and the young who have not worked before are the ones who lose out the most from these alleged malpractices,” the former minister added.

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