Less than 10% of Malaysia’s 2.7 million self-employed workers contribute to the Employee Provident Fund’s voluntary i-Saraan scheme, Deputy Finance Minister II Mohd Shahar Abdullah revealed. In light of these less than encouraging numbers, the deputy minister has urged more Malaysians to sign up for the scheme, especially those in the gig economy.
“Of the 255,000 who registered for the i-Saraan scheme, only 18% are contributing to the EPF consistently,” said Shahar. “This is quite unfortunate because the scheme has been designed to provide some sort of social security coverage for the self-employed or those in the informal sector.”
Through the Penjana economic recovery plan announced in June, the government launched a RM50 million matching grant for gig economy workers who wished to contribute to EPF’s i-Saraan and SOCSO’s Employment Injury Scheme. Self-employed workers will receive an additional 15% incentive from the government, subject to a maximum of RM250 per year. The special incentive is being given out from 2018 until 2022.
The deputy finance minister highlighted that the incentive from the government goes above and beyond the benefits provided by the EPF such as the usual annual dividend. “So those who do not have a fixed income every month should also sign up as this will certainly benefit them as well,” he said, adding that housewives are eligible for the i-Saraan scheme too.
(Source: The Star)