It’s common practice for well-established, profitable companies to award its employees with bonuses, but when the combined payout for four people alone adds up to RM1.25 million, you know something’s not quite right.
In a report by The Star, an investigation into the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), which operates as an agency under our Human Resources Ministry and manages a fund for human resources training contributed by employers, revealed staggering bonuses and increments for a top executive and three deputies, prior to the last general election.
For example, in 2017 alone, the top executive received an individual bonus of RM616,000, which is already three times the amount he pocketed in 2016 (RM191,000). The RM616,000 payout was part of a RM1.25 million package that was shared among the top executive and his three peers. The three deputies each got RM211,000.
More shocking still is the fact that the 2017 bonus is a 3,524% leap from his 2014 bonus, which was ‘only’ RM17,000 then. Apart from that, the executive also got two sizeable pay raises in 2017, going from RM32,000 per month at the start of the year, to RM47,000 in March, and finally, to RM56,000 just four months later. His monthly pay is what most of us earn in a whole year!
What makes the string of events more suspicious is that the fund’s board of directors were not included in the decision to award these increments and bonuses. Instead, the pay reviews were signed off by a consultancy firm that was hired in November 2016 to review the executive’s salary. Meanwhile, the bonuses were allegedly greenlit by the Human Resources Minister at the time, Datuk Seri Richard Riot Jaem, based on documents seen by The Star.
In 2017, HRDF’s employees were eligible for up to 5.75 months of bonuses. This included 1.75 months of corporate bonus, and up to four months of individual bonus.
It is learnt that the executive and one of the deputies are no longer in HRDF’s employment, while the other two remain with the agency.
This is far from the only uncovering of wrongdoings linked to the fund this year, several of which have been reported on by The Star as well. In January 2019, HRDF management reported misuse of funds to purchase a six-floor skyscraper in Bangsar South for RM154 million, whereas earlier this month on April 3, it was discovered that RM150 million had been falsely allocated in 2016 to data analytics training. Similar to the case of the exceedingly high bonuses, this decision had purportedly bypassed the board of directors.
Clearly, authorities have only begun scratching the surface of the corrupted forces within the agency. Let’s hope those responsible will be found out and held accountable for their actions!
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