Former prime minister Najib Razak came under fire on social media today after criticising the proposal by Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Muhyiddin Yassin for the government to allow targeted withdrawals from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
Najib, who just a year ago pushed for more EPF withdrawals himself, said on Facebook that the government had already allocated RM1 billion to be channelled to the accounts of EPF contributors between the age of 40 and 54 with savings of less than RM10,000.
But Muhyiddin, the Pagoh MP, had said in the Dewan Rakyat that the government could save that amount without needing to release such a large allocation.
"Is this so?" Najib said in his Facebook post.
"Has Muhyiddin obtained the green light from each of the two million eligible EPF members to give up the RM500 allocation?"
He was criticised by other users who said Muhyiddin's proposal was more in line with their request for targeted withdrawals from the retirement fund.
They also said that Najib did not understand what the people wanted, and was responding to a different topic.
"People aged 40 and above whose savings are less than RM10,000 – what group is that?" said Facebook user Hairosnizam Roslan.
"If you want to do something, the benefits should be comprehensive."
Others questioned the number of EPF members who meet the criteria for the RM500 assistance.
"Logically, how many people are there between 40 and 54 years of age with savings of less than RM10,000?" said Mohd Ashraf.
Alidie Sofhia meanwhile said the government was offering something that the majority of people had never requested.
"They would prefer to be able to withdraw their savings right now," she added.
Faizal Hud meanwhile said that "rich people sitting in jail" did not understand the present needs of the people.
Najib is currently serving a 12-year jail term at Kajang Prison for the misappropriation of tens of millions in SRC International funds.
The government has been under pressure to allow targeted EPF withdrawals to help the people cope with the rising cost of living.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim previously said that the government was looking into other ways to help those in need without them needing to dip into their retirement funds.