PUTRAJAYA | Employers and training providers who made false claims and misappropriated funds for the PenjanaKerjaya programme should refund the money to avoid severe action, says the Human Resources Minister.
Datuk Seri M. Saravanan said the ministry had “zero tolerance” against parties misappropriating and abusing government funds.
“I urge those who have committed wrongdoings in their PenjanaKerjaya claims application to step forward and make refunds.
“Employers and training providers should not be making false claims as the financial resources are meant to support important government efforts to strengthen the national labour market,” he said in a statement yesterday.
PenjanaKerjaya was introduced in 2020 under the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana), offering financial incentives of between RM600 and RM1,000 to employers for each employee or apprentice employed for up to six months.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and the Social Security Organisation (Socso) have launched an operation codenamed Ops Hire to probe claims that certain employers and training providers submitted false claims under the programme.
Socso also announced that it was suspending payments totalling RM423mil for the PenjanaKerjaya programme following the probe.
Its chief executive officer Datuk Seri Dr Mohammed Azman Aziz Mohammed said the action was based on data analysis and continuous monitoring by the anti-fraud, ethics and integrity division.
“The division is also working closely with the finance division and the employment insurance system office to ensure that each application is thoroughly reviewed before any payment is made to incentive recipients,” he said in a statement.
Mohammed Azman said that to date, Socso had made payments totalling RM1.72bil to employers and workers under the programme, involving 45,379 employers to place 327,789 job seekers.
“Those found to have abused the fund or submitted applications without fulfilling the conditions are to come forward and make repayments voluntarily, or to contact Socso to resolve the matter before any action is taken,” he said.
In another development, the MACC remanded three more individuals yesterday, bringing the tally of arrests in connection to the probe to 40.
A senior chief clerk in Johor Baru believed to have received RM5,000 from a company owner as a reward for helping the company make claims under the Hiring Incentives Programme, was remanded for three days. Two other suspects arrested in Penang were remanded for six days.
They were believed to have submitted documents containing false information to Socso online, being purported claims for incentive payments for hiring and training workers under Penjana.
On Thursday, a company proprietor, directors, managers and shareholders were among 37 individuals remanded over the MACC’s probe over allegations of fake claims and misappropriation of funds under the programme said to total RM100mil.