The government will soon make an announcement about the loan moratorium extension for all, and the one-off withdrawal from Akaun 1 of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), said Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim.
Shahidan, who is the chairman of the Perikatan Nasional Backbencher’s Club (PNBBC), hinted that an “agreement in principle” had been struck on both issues. He also said that Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz is expected to amend Budget 2021 before it is finalised soon. “Maybe the Finance Minister will make an official announcement even before the winding up of the Budget,” he added.
According to Shahidan, the decision regarding these matters had been revealed during a pre-discussion meeting with government backbenchers. He also stated that the government was prepared to revise Budget 2021 following proposals from its Perikatan allies before the national budget is approved in Dewan Rakyat.
Shahidan had been asked to comment on an earlier statement by former prime minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. Najib, who is also the chairman of Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club, had said that the coalition’s support for Budget 2021 hinges on the fulfilment of two of its demands:
- Blanket moratorium on loan repayments until 30 June 2021
- Allowing a one-off withdrawal of RM10,000 from the EPF Akaun 1
Najib’s stance came following the tabling of Budget 2021 on 6 November, where Tengku Zafrul announced an enhanced targeted repayment assistance programme for B40 and micro SMEs. The proposed programme will allow these groups to either defer loan repayment for three months, or reduce their monthly instalment by up to 50% for six months.
Additionally, the government also proposed to allow eligible EPF contributors to withdraw RM500 per month from their Akaun 1 for a period of 12 months – totalling up to RM6,000. This withdrawal is on top of the ongoing i-Lestari scheme, which already allows contributors to take out a maximum of RM6,000 (up to RM500 withdrawal per month) from their Akaun 2.
Members of the Parliament will vote on the national budget on 23 November 2020.
(Source: The Star)