An employers' group today said it was not only against any move to allow another round of withdrawals from retirement fund Employees Provident Fund (EPF), but that it wanted the current rules to be further tightened to allow withdrawals only upon reaching the retirement age.
The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) went a step further to suggest that the government do away with the current rule allowing contributors to withdraw one-third of their total savings upon turning 50, and complete withdrawals upon reaching the age 55.
It said such a move was needed to ensure sufficient funds for contributors' old age.
"It is therefore critical that the current policy of allowing one-third withdrawal upon 50 years and the withdrawal of all EPF savings at age 55 be reviewed.
"Since the retirement age was raised from 55 to 60 years in 2013, it is no longer relevant for EPF to allow members to withdraw their EPF savings upon reaching 55 years," said MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman.
Prime Minister and Finance Minister Anwar Ibrahim has repeatedly rejected calls to allow further withdrawals from the EPF, a move which many have said would help ease the lingering financial difficulties in the aftermath of the pandemic.
At the peak of the pandemic, four tranches of EPF withdrawals were allowed, triggering warnings from the retirement fund that a large number of Malaysians would have no savings for their old age.
MEF said it hoped the government would consider "other ways" to address the cost of living problem, suggesting targeted subsidies for those in need of funds.
"MEF is confident that with all the experts and advisers in the government, they will come up with the right policies to support the needy," said Syed Hussain.