23 Nov - 3 min read
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is set to launch two new facilities soon, as part of its continuous effort to improve the well-being of the Malaysian public. Dubbed i-Sayang and i-Lindung, the two facilities are among several other initiatives that EPF hopes to also explore in providing better retirement outcomes for its members.
Specifically, the i-Sayang facility will allow for husbands to voluntarily transfer 2% of his EPF contributions to his spouse’s account. It is expected to be rolled out in the first quarter of 2022. Additionally, EPF members can soon tap into the i-Lindung facility to make withdrawals from their Akaun 2 via the EPF platform in order to purchase life and critical illness insurance.
The chairman of EPF, Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said that on top of these two schemes, the provident fund is also exploring initiatives such as the gradual approach towards mandating legal EPF coverage to non-agriculture informal sector workers. “We will also be advocating our voluntary excess scheme where members can compel their employers to increase their EPF contributions to more than the 11% statutory rate,” he said during the opening of the 9th International Social Wellbeing Conference (ISWC) 2021, an annual event aimed at examining and improving social protection ecosystems.
Tan Sri Ahmad Badri also took the opportunity to reiterate that many EPF members are now at risk of falling into old age poverty. This is due to the large-sum withdrawals made via the i-Lestari, i-Sinar, and i-Citra facilities in order to survive the financial difficulties brought on by Covid-19. In total, RM101.1 billion has been withdrawn under the three facilities.
“The situation is that 48% of EPF members below age 55 have critically low savings. This is a 28% increase in members reaching critically low EPF savings from before the pandemic,” Tan Sri Ahmad Badri stressed, adding that it is estimated that only three out of ten adults in Malaysia are covered by some form of social protection.
Meanwhile, the chief executive officer of EPF, Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan highlighted another worrying concern that has been exposed by the pandemic: an intensified problem of inequality. This issue was already prevalent well before the pandemic, but was made worse with the onslaught of Covid-19.
“While many nations have tried to stem the Covid-19 impact through intensive and short-term mobilisation of resources, these initiatives can only be temporary fixes, and not long-term solutions that are able to protect the lives and livelihood of the people,” said Datuk Seri Amir. As such, he hoped that participants of the ISWC 2021 will strive to contribute to finding the necessary resolutions.
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