Has Great Eastern paid RM2 billion ‘penalty’ yet, asks Wee

MCA president Wee Ka Siong says Great Eastern Life Assurance Bhd must channel its funds from overseas in exchange for the 30% local equity exemption.

PETALING JAYA: MCA president Wee Ka Siong has asked if Great Eastern Life Assurance Bhd (GELB) has already paid the RM2 billion “penalty” to the finance ministry for it to be exempted from fulfilling the 30% local equity condition.

He said Deputy Finance Minister Amiruddin Hamzah’s reply in November last year that the valuation for the actual amount was still ongoing was troubling since the scheme has been around for nearly a year.

“I have also repeatedly asked the finance ministry to confirm whether GELB has used the RM2 billion from its RM10 billion surplus accumulated from life insurance schemes in Malaysia to pay for the ‘penalty’.

“If so, then it is against the regulation by Bank Negara Malaysia as it will affect the benefits of local Great Eastern policyholders.

“In other words, GELB must channel its funds from overseas in exchange for the 30% local equity,” he said in a Facebook post today.

Wee noted that according to its performance report, GELB had made a profit of nearly RM900 million. This, he said, meant that the 30% local equity came up to RM265.7 million.

“If we were to spend half of the RM265.7 million on mySalam for the B40 and M40 or medical welfare, wouldn’t it bring greater benefits to the people?”

Wee also noted that the sum derived from the 30% equity is higher than the RM13.7 million in compensation paid out to the B40 group in 2019.

He said the RM2 billion would have received an income of RM60 million if it was saved as a fixed deposit with an annual interest rate of 3%.

“This is three times higher than the mySalam claims in 2019. So, why does the government still want to get insured by Great Eastern Takaful?”

Wee also asked why GELB was allowed to administer the mySalam scheme, questioning the absence of an open tender for the insurance scheme.

“How much in premiums does the government pay for a year? How much of wakala (administration fees) does the company receive from mySalam?

“The Pakatan Harapan government has always stressed on integrity. Does it have no answer to explain the matter in a transparent manner?”

Launched by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad early last year, the free public health protection scheme provides takaful protection for the low-income B40 group if they are diagnosed with critical illnesses.

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the scheme would be extended to cover the middle-income (M40) group — with around eight million Malaysians now eligible for the scheme compared with only 4.3 million previously.

Lim said RM13.7 million was paid out to 9,662 recipients under the insurance scheme last year.