Bad idea to hook into Tabung Harapan, Cuepacs told

G25 member Johan Ariffin says no one should feel any pressure to contribute to Tabung Harapan Malaysia.

PETALING JAYA: Former Sabah Foundation deputy director Johan Ariffin has voiced disagreement with Cuepacs’ call for donations to Tabung Harapan Malaysia (THM) from its members.

He acknowledged that the call was for voluntary contributions, but he told FMT civil servants might nevertheless feel compelled to part with their money.

A Bernama report yesterday quoted Cuepacs president Azih Muda as saying the civil service union agreed on the proposal at its congress last week. He said Cuepacs was targeting a collection of RM10 million and the idea was for the 1.6 million civil servants in the country to voluntarily contribute at least RM10 each.

Johan, a member of the G25 group of former civil servants, said it was a bad idea for Cuepacs to get involved in THM’s work.

He said the use of the word “voluntary” would not necessarily reduce civil servants’ feeling of being pressured to give to the fund.

“This shouldn’t be the case,” he said. “No one should feel any pressure to contribute.

“THM is well publicised. So if civil servants want to donate, they can do so on their own.”

Economist Ramon Navaratnam, also a former senior civil servant, described the proposal as “laudable”.

“If civil servants want to contribute, it would speak volumes of their patriotism,” he said.

“But they need to know that while the government’s debt figure is large, it is only 51% when seen together with the gross domestic product (GDP).”

Navaratnam said the debt-to-GDP ratio of 51% was a moderate figure by international standards, and he cited the standards of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The establishment of THM was announced on May 30. The government said its purpose was to enable Malaysians to contribute towards reducing the country’s RM1 trillion debt. The collection so far is RM132 million.

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