PM: Government Seeking Solutions To Help People Without Resorting To More EPF Withdrawals
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(Image: Financial Times)

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has reiterated that the government is looking for better solutions to help alleviate the people’s financial stress, without resorting to yet another withdrawal from their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings.

The prime minister said that a majority of EPF members’ funds meant for retirement have already dwindled down to a worrying amount due to the various special withdrawal facilities that were permitted before. As such, a different route needs to be considered in resolving the situation.

“In the past, we asked to be allowed to withdraw some money from their EPF savings, but what if they now only have RM10,000 or RM5,000 left? Should they still withdraw? What happens in three to five years, when they retire, reach pension age? I know it’s their money, but if you were to take all the money out, then what about the kids and your future?” said Datuk Seri Anwar.

(Image: The Malaysian Reserve/Razak Ghazali

For context, the government had already allowed as many as four special EPF withdrawals between 2020 to 2022 – namely i-Lestari, i-Sinar, i-Citra, and a final RM10,000 withdrawal facility – to sustain those who struggled financially during the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. As a result, the EPF savings of many contributors have dipped, with EPF highlighting that 52% of the total 12.78 million EPF members aged under 55 had savings of less than RM10,000 (as of June 2022).

The sovereign fund, too, had previously cautioned that the RM10,000 special withdrawal should be the last to be allowed, especially as the nation could be facing a crisis where citizens lack enough money for their golden years. Similarly, Datuk Seri Anwar, too, has recently voiced his concern regarding the state of the people’s retirement savings, stating that they just don’t have enough for another withdrawal.

Given the situation, the prime minister – who is also the finance minister – has reassured that the revised Budget 2023, which is set to be re-tabled on 24 February 2023, will contain efforts to address key issues like the rising cost of living. This is in addition to steps to overcome other problems, including the national deficit, digitalisation issues, and food safety.

(Source: Malay Mail)

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