Additional EPF withdrawals can cause retirement below poverty line, says Finance Minister

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KOTA BHARU: More Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members will retire below the Income Poverty Line level if the government allows additional withdrawals of their savings, says Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He said this was due to the continuous decline in EPF members’ retirement savings and currently almost half of the members had less than RM10,000 in their accounts.

“Of this total, 55 per cent are bumiputera. More worryingly, over 79 per cent of the members (who have savings) of less than RM1,000 are also bumiputera,” said Tengku Zafrul.

“So if additional withdrawals are allowed, this will result in more members to retire below the poverty line causing the Malaysian family to bear a huge burden in the future, especially if a recession occurs,” he added when speaking to reporters on Saturday (Dec 15) while visiting the Kelantan Urban Transformation Centre (UTC).

He said this when asked to comment on a study by UMNO Youth which found that more than 97 per cent of members want the government to approve the one-off withdrawal of EPF i-Citra savings of RM10,000.

Commenting further, Tengku Zafrul said every decision made by the government must take into account the interests of the people in the short-and long-term periods.

He added that the government will continue to protect the welfare of the people, including the B40 and M40 groups.

“Under the 2022 Budget, more than RM31 billion is earmarked for subsidies, assistance and incentives to reduce the impact of the rising cost of living.

“To ensure the welfare of the people is taken care of, (under) Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM), the government has allocated RM8.2 billion to be distributed to 9.6 million recipients. This is a among the various assistance provided to the people,” he said. – Bernama