After going through much debate both among the Malaysian public and within Parliament, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has finally released the finalised details on its much-awaited i-Sinar Akaun 1 withdrawal facility. From how to apply to how much money you can withdraw, here are some frequently asked questions – and their answers – on the EPF i-Sinar facility.
What is i-Sinar?
i-Sinar is the name of the facility that allows affected members of the EPF to withdraw a set amount of funds from their Akaun 1, in order to help with cash flow issues during the Covid-19 crisis.
What is EPF Akaun 1?
Your EPF contributions are split into two different accounts: Akaun 1 and Akaun 2. Traditionally, funds from EPF Akaun 1 can only be accessed upon retirement and cannot be withdrawn for any other reason. Meanwhile, funds from Akaun 2 can be partially withdrawn before retirement for a number of reasons, including for education and buying a home.
How much money can I withdraw from i-Sinar?
The amount of money you can withdraw from i-Sinar depends on how much balance you have in your Akaun 1, and can be referred to below.
|RM100,000 and below in Akaun 1||More than RM100,000 in Akaun 1|
|Allowed withdrawal||Up to RM10,000||Up to 10% of Akaun 1 savings, capped at RM60,000|
Your Akaun 1 balance also dictates how your money will be paid out. For those with RM100,000 and below in Akaun 1, the first payment can be up to RM5,000, whereas those with more than RM100,000 can have a first payment of up to RM10,000. The rest of your intended withdrawal will be paid out monthly with a minimum amount of RM1,000 a month over a period of up to 6 months.
Do note that all withdrawals are subject to maintaining a minimum balance of RM100 in Akaun 1.
Can I get an example of how the i-Sinar payments will be made?
Based on the information provided by EPF, here are some example scenarios we’ve drawn up to show you how much money you can withdraw and your payment amounts according to your Akaun 1 balance.
Scenario 1: If you have Akaun 1 balance of RM4,500, you will be allowed to withdraw a maximum of RM4,400. Should you wish to withdraw the maximum amount out under i-Sinar, you will receive a single payment of RM4,400 in the first month.
Scenario 2: If you have Akaun 1 balance of RM70,000, you will be allowed to withdraw up to a maximum of RM10,000. Let’s say you want to withdraw a total of RM7,000. You will receive RM5,000 for the first month and the rest in minimum monthly payments of RM1,000 thereafter.
Scenario 3: If you have Akaun 1 balance of RM500,000, you will be allowed to withdraw up to a maximum of RM50,000. You will receive RM10,000 for the first month and the rest in monthly payments of RM8,000 per month for 5 months thereafter.
Scenario 4: If you have Akaun 1 balance of RM800,000, you will be allowed to withdraw up to a maximum of RM60,000. You will receive RM10,000 for the first month and the rest in monthly payments of RM10,000 per month for 5 months thereafter.
Can I apply for i-Sinar?
Basically, if you have not contributed to EPF in at least two consecutive months, or have experienced a 30% or more decrease in base salary or total income since March 2020, you can apply for i-Sinar.
What are the eligibility categories for i-Sinar applications?
EPF has created two categories of applicants – where the main difference is whether your application will be automatically approved, or whether you need to provide supporting documents as proof.
Take a look at the two categories below to see which one you fall into.
|Category 1||Category 2|
|· Members who have not contributed to the EPF for at least 2 consecutive months on application; OR
· Members who are still working but have suffered a reduction of their base salary by 30% and above from March onwards
|Members whose total income has been reduced by 30% and above (total income including base salary and other benefits such as allowances and overtime) from March onwards|
To sum up: if you have not contributed to EPF for at least two months before application, or you have at least a 30% reduction in base salary, then you will fall into Category 1. On the other hand, if your base salary has not reduced by the minimum 30%, but your total income has, you fall into Category 2.
Is approval automatic for i-Sinar?
For Category 1, approval is automatic based on EPF’s internal data.
For Category 2, you will have to go through a verification process based on your supporting documents. You will be notified of the status of your application between 2-3 weeks after applying.
What documents do I need to apply for i-Sinar?
As mentioned above, the documents required depends on what category of applicant you fall in. For Category 1 applicants, you don’t need to produce any supporting documents, but Category 2 applicants need to.
|Category 1||Category 2|
|Documents required||None||· Salary slip before and after reduction of income; AND
· Employer’s notice of suspension or reduction of allowances and/or overtime claims.
How do I apply for i-Sinar?
Applications for i-Sinar can only be done online on the official i-Sinar website, isinar.kwsp.gov.my.
When can I apply for i-Sinar?
Applications for i-Sinar open on 21 December 2020 for Category 1 applicants and 11 January 2021 for Category 2 applicants.
What do I need to do before I apply for i-Sinar?
To ensure a smooth process, you are encouraged to register your mobile phone number at an EPF branch or kiosk and update your information through the EPF app or i-Akaun portal.
You should also make sure that the bank account provided to the EPF upon registration is still active, as well as being your own account and not a joint account.
When will the i-Sinar payments be made?
For Category 1, the first payment will be made in mid-January 2021. For Category 2, the payment will be made by the end of the following month after obtaining approval. (Remember, you will find out whether your application is approved or not 2-3 weeks after applying.)
How will the i-Sinar payments be made?
The payments will be directly credited into your registered bank account with EPF.
Do I have to pay back the i-Sinar withdrawal amount?
You are not under any obligation to repay the i-Sinar withdrawals, although you should replenish your account whenever possible for retirement savings purposes.
How can I check my EPF Akaun 1 balance?
You can check your Akaun 1 balance online through the EPF app or i-Akaun portal. If you have not registered for i-Akaun, you will need to visit your nearest EPF branch or kiosk.
If I have already applied for i-Lestari, can I apply for i-Sinar?
Yes, you can withdraw from both i-Sinar and i-Lestari schemes.
What is the difference between i-Lestari and i-Sinar?
Simply put, the i-Lestari withdrawal scheme involves Akaun 2, whereas i-Sinar is for Akaun 1 withdrawals. i-Lestari allows you to withdraw up to RM500 per month for a total of 12 months from Akaun 2. The programme began in 1 April and will be available for applications up until 31 March 2021.
You can keep an eye out on the i-Sinar portal or the official EPF website for any further information – although we will also be updating this article as any additional details get released, so make sure to check back regularly!