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Is Malaysia's poverty trap being institutionalised?

With three million contributors needing to dip into their EPF savings to sustain themselves, it means that the country has failed socio-economic policies in place.

Callistus Antony D'Angelus
2 minute read
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Not unexpectedly, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is reported to have received some three million applications from contributors to allow them to withdraw funds from their EPF savings. 

This has come about through a recent change which created Account 3. EPF, which is supposed to be concerned about the sufficiency of savings for Malaysian workers when they retire, are instead proud of the high usage of its mobile app for the purposes of such withdrawals. 

EPF has lost its direction and is rudderless.

It is estimated that the withdrawals would amount to billions of ringgits, which would be unleashed into the economy and benefit businesses. 

Economic spending stimulus cannot come from the retirement savings of people who need it most when they retire. It’s a case of stealing from the poor to benefit the rich.

The government is failing the people in this regard. 

The Madani government has instituted a lot of positive reform, except where it concerns workers. It is evident, that the balance between labour and capital is heavily weighted in favour of capital and this seems to be the policy of the government being executed by the human resources ministry.

With that many contributors needing to dip into their retirement savings to sustain themselves on a day to day basis, it means that the country has failed socio-economic policies in place. 

Instead of attempting to solve the problem, the government is instead creating a bigger one. 

The first thing the government should be doing is to ensure that every worker earns a living wage. 

The 3K agenda of the Ministry of Human Resources, which purportedly focuses of skills, welfare and success of workers is farcical. 

Workers don’t need welfare. Workers have a right to a decent wage and decent working conditions. Engaging in sloganeering does not help, and it’s a ruse to deflect the attention of people away from the real issues facing workers in the country.

The human resources minister should come out to state as to what he has done in his tenure to alleviate the acute cost of living crisis for the B40 and M40 workers in the country.

Callistus Antony D'Angelus is adviser, Social Protection Contributors Advisory Association Malaysia.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.

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