Inexperienced minister exonerated Top Glove, government funds hold more than 10% stake in the company

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KUALA LUMPUR, December 10 – First-time minister at the Human Resource Ministry, M Kulasegaran exonerated Top Glove from allegations of foreign worker abuse after visiting the company’s factory earlier today. He said that the ministry’s observation at almost all Top Glove factories in Klang and Ipoh found that the foreign workers were willingly working overtime as they wanted to earn more pay.

HR Minister, M Kulasegaran at press conference to exonerate Top Glove
HR Minister, M Kulasegaran at press conference to exonerate under-fire Top Glove

Also present at the press conference with the minister was Top Glove executive chairman Lim Wee Chai.

Lim who is a Board Member at Malaysian government-managed Employees Provident Fund (EPF) was sitting right next to the minister. As of Dec 6, EPF hold 5.78% stake in Top Glove or 147,646,922 shares.

Another government-managed fund that hold 5.04% stake (128,910,532 shares) in the company as of today, is Kumpulan Wang Persaraan, Malaysia’s largest public services pension fund.

Combined, their stakes were worth around MYR1.6 billion before the company shares plunged about 5% after the news of worker abuse broke out internationally.

Malaysian Government can’t afford for Top Glove to take a tumble

EPF and KWAP are among few other government-managed funds that have lost billions since the change of government in May, with the previous Barisan Nasional government abusing funds for bad investments intended to enrich a privileged few.

Under much pressure to save the country’s economy, the last thing the new government need is for a company like Top Glove to take a hit. Such a hit will see investments losing in value just like they have seen in the case of investments in MYEG, a company recently linked with corruption charges slapped on previous Home Affairs Minister, Zahid Hamidi.

EPF and KWAP losing the people’s money would be very bad news to the Malaysian work-force.

Kulasegaran immature to exonerate Top Glove immediately, seems like conflict

The inexperienced minister’s exoneration of Top Glove against claims published by reputable international news such as Reuters can now seen as a conflict of interest because the government have such interest to protect.

Kulasegaran exonerated Top Glove by saying the ministry's findings to be conflicting to the news reported
Kulasegaran exonerated Top Glove by saying the ministry’s findings to be conflicting to the news reported

Reports from various international news among others are saying that the foreign workers are working very long hours due to them earning minimal wage. The ministry visited them after the company has had time to prepare their allegedly abused workers since the news broke out few days ago.

It must have taken Reuters a considerable time to investigate such allegations and yet, the ministry lead by a first-time minister completed their investigation in one day.

This minister now reminds many of how Malaysia’s former Attorney General, Apandi Ali exonerated the alleged kleptocrat Najib Razak after the United States Department of Justice broke news about their findings on 1MDB.

– Mujahidin Zulkiffli