PETALING JAYA: The Human Resource Development Corporation (HRD Corp) has acknowledged its shortcomings found in the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

Its chairman, Datuk Abu Huraira Abu Yazid, said the training fund had implemented several improvements, which had helped increase levy collection over the years.

“For context, audits in both reports were carried out on HRD Corp for the period 2019 to 2023.

“Several improvements have been implemented following these audit findings,” he said in a statement on Thursday (June 27).

The statement, however, did not address findings that HRD Corp had invested levies collected from employers in several high-risk investments, despite the training fund not being an investment institution.

He said the training fund’s levy collection and utilisation rates have improved significantly over the past few years, despite the initial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Levy collection increased from RM475mil in 2020 to RM2.13bil in 2023.

“Levy utilisation rate increased from 63% in 2020 to 71% in 2023.

“If the approved and unpaid levies (payments only made after training) are taken into account, the levy utilisation rate in 2023 reached 83%,” he said.

Abu Huraira said HRD Corp’s profit before tax also increased from RM25.8mil in 2020 to RM97.5mil in 2023.

“To address arrears issues, HRD Corp has strengthened its compliance and enforcement efforts, resulting in RM96.27mil in arrears collected in 2023, which increased from previous years.”

He noted that HRD Corp has also implemented reforms under the Human Resources Ministry’s “Rekayasa KESUMA” programme to improve its governance this year.

Some of the initiatives included the abolition of the Skills Passport project without any cost and loss to HRD Corp or the government, he said.

“Other initiatives included separating the previous ‘Risk and Audit Committee’ into ‘Risk Committee’ and ‘Audit Committee’; introducing a Strategic Initiatives Account separate from the levy trust account; tightening investment approval processes; and facilitating and encouraging greater levy utilisation by employers.

“HRD Corp will ensure continuous improvements to ensure good governance so that the fund’s mandate for national human capital development is effectively implemented,” he said.