13th July 2022 - 2 min read
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz revealed that the registration of new Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members has increased by 57% to 146,000 members in the first quarter of 2022.
According to Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul, the rise in the number of new EPF member registrations was in line with the provident fund’s long-term strategy to expand the social protection coverage of Malaysians. The strategy is also an effort at strengthening the support ecosystem provided by government-linked companies (GLCs).
“Currently, although various social protection initiatives have been introduced and some have received government funding, the average awareness of the importance of social protection and preparing for old age is still too low among a large number of Malaysians,” the finance minister further said, adding that some of those who do realise the importance of such protection may not be able to afford it.
Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul also cited a study by the National Health and Morbidity Survey, which showed that almost half of Malaysians do not have additional savings to cover their medical expenses. He highlighted that this will pose a challenge to the country, especially as Malaysia is expected to become an ageing nation as early as 2030.
Aside from that, Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul also shared that the number of voluntary contributors under the EPF’s i-Saraan programme has risen by 77% to 599,000 people in the first quarter of this year. Briefly, i-Saraan is a voluntary contribution scheme that allows EPF members who are self-employed or do not earn a regular income to make voluntary contributions towards their retirement.
“I understand that the EPF will also continue to target the informal and self-employed sectors to ensure that all Malaysians will benefit from retirement savings,” said Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul, adding that the government is also currently assessing policies to expedite the process of increasing social protection coverage.
The minister further stressed the importance of improving social security as it is crucial in increasing living wages and narrowing the wealth gap. “If this structural issue is not addressed immediately, it will be a risk to the country’s socio-economic stability in the future,” he remarked, adding that the implementation of the new minimum wage of RM1,500 – which began from 1 May 2022 – is among the various measures that will help to improve the people’s quality of life.
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