23rd February 2023 - 3 min read
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan has commented that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is being “monopolised” by the T20 group, as their savings make up the bulk of the total amount.
Additionally, the deputy minister said that there was an 11% increase in the total EPF savings belonging to the T20 group during the Covid-19 pandemic. Specifically, the total amount of funds in EPF accounts that belong to the T20 group increased from RM538 billion to RM597 billion by December 2022. Additionally, T20 EPF accountholders make up 2.6 million of EPF members.
In contrast, the amount of EPF funds belonging to the B40 group fell by 46%, from RM13 billion in April 2020 to RM7 billion in December 2022. There were 5.2 million B40 EPF members. Similarly, the M40 group – also numbering 5.2 million EPF members – also saw their total amount of EPF savings plunge from RM191 billion in April 2020 to RM138 billion in December 2022 – a decrease of 28%.
Additionally, Ahmad Maslan shared the breakdown of the median EPF savings during the same period by race. For Malays, savings decreased from RM16,938 to RM5,529, whereas for non-Malay bumiputera, the amount plummeted from RM10,591 to RM3,302. Ethnic Chinese and Indians, meanwhile, saw their median EPF savings fall from RM45,756 to RM45,162, and from RM25,724 to RM14,929, respectively.
Given the data, Ahmad Maslan reiterated that the government is wary about allowing another round of EPF withdrawal, despite being pressed by multiple parties to do so. He also said that other countries that have similar schemes as Malaysia’s sovereign pension fund – such as Australia, Peru, and Chile – have stopped allowing withdrawals.
“The structure of wages in Malaysia is very low and that is a structural issue, hence we want to ensure that the people will have high wages so that their EPF funds remain high across all races, and this is among the main things we want to do,” said Ahmad Maslan.
Between 2020 to 2022, the government had already allowed a total of four special EPF withdrawals – namely i-Lestari, i-Sinar, i-Citra, and a final RM10,000 special withdrawal – in a bid to assist Malaysians who were struggling financially during the Covid-19 pandemic. Fast forward to today, there are calls to once again allow targeted EPF withdrawals to help the public cope with the rising cost of living, although these requests have been rejected thus far.
(Source: Malay Mail)
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