Friday, May 13, 2022

PM announces ‘difficult decision’ to allow more EPF withdrawals

Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob advises the public to only use the facility as a last resort.

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The government has succumbed to calls for further withdrawals from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) despite warnings by the retirement fund itself after months of resisting calls by a group of politicians led by former prime minister Najib Razak.

Announcing the decision today, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said contributors would once again be allowed to withdraw up to RM10,000, similar to the earlier rounds permitted at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ismail however said this was a difficult decision as it involved savings meant for the people’s old age.

“Although the government is giving permission for this special EPF withdrawal, I appeal to contributors to maintain their savings unless the situation is really desperate,” he said, adding that the government felt the decision was a middle-ground solution.

Ismail’s announcement comes in the wake of incessant calls by politicians aligned with Najib as well as PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim, both of whom made EPF withdrawals a campaign issue at the newly concluded Johor state election.

The EPF had responded to such calls last December by pointing out that the country’s social protection had been pushed to the limit after a series of earlier withdrawals due to the Covid-19 crisis.

The fund said the approach of using EPF savings during emergencies was worrying as members were left with insufficient savings for their retirement.

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