KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) hopes the government does not to allow a blanket approval for the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) special withdrawals.

In a statement today, its president Datuk Dr Syed Hussain Syed Husman said that the RM10,000 special withdrawal from EPF accounts should be based on special needs.

“MEF hopes that the EPF management will incorporate and detail the special circumstances that will be considered as the basis to allow the special withdrawal,” he said.

The federation was concerned that the withdrawals from the savings of EPF members through i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra facilities totalling RM101.1 billion had exposed the members to risks of falling into old-age poverty, he said.

Currently, about 48 per cent of EPF members below age 55 have critically low savings, he added.

“To replenish their EPF savings, members who made withdrawals from their EPF savings need to work for four to six years longer just to cover the amount they withdrew over the period.

“As it is unlikely that the retirement age will be raised, such employees would not have enough EPF savings for their retirement.” 

Syed Hussain also said the government should also be responsible in ensuring that contributors have adequate savings to live a normal life after retirement.

“The government must think of other schemes to assist them than withdrawing from the EPF savings meant for old-age requirements, and this responsibility cannot be passed to the individual employees.

“Based on the current situation, it is indeed very worrying to note that only three per cent of Malaysians can afford to retire comfortably.

“It is very clear that we need far-reaching solutions covering an effective social safety net programme, robust labour market policies, sustainable economic growth, reskilling and upskilling of the labour force, as well as policies to encourage automation and digitalisation to help increase productivity and make the economic cake bigger so that the employees have a better chance to earn more, thereby increasing their contributions to the EPF,” he said.

Earlier today, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government has agreed to allow EPF contributors to make a special withdrawal of RM10,000 to ease the burden of members who are still impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 


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