DPM: i-Suri being studied for mandatory move

Prime Minster Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng arrive in Parliament for the tabling of Budget 2020 on October 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Prime Minster Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng arrive in Parliament for the tabling of Budget 2020 on October 11, 2019. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PUTRAJAYA, Oct 12 — The proposal to make the Suri Incentive Scheme (i-Suri) mandatory is currently being studied, says Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said the study on making it mandatory for husbands to contribute two per cent of their monthly 11 per cent EPF remittance to their wives’ i-Suri accounts, would take three years.

“It is still with the Attorney General’s Chambers. We want to make it mandatory but it is subject to the EPF Act,” she told reporters after launching a safety programme, “Sahabat B.I.J.A.K: Selamat dan Lindung”, in conjunction with World Children’s Day at Sekolah Menengah Kebangsaan Presint 8 (1) here today.

Presently, she noted, contributions are made voluntarily by husbands.  

“We have to explain to the husbands about the contribution which is for their future mutual benefit and it would be practical for us to have a legislation to make sure that husbands contribute two per cent to their wives,” she said.

During the tabling of Budget 2020 yesterday, the government announced that i-Suri would be enhanced to oblige husbands to contribute two of 11 per cent of their monthly EPF remittance into their wives’ i-Suri account.

Meanwhile, Dr Wan Azizah also welcomed the incentive for fertility treatment, saying it was good for B40 and M40 couples desiring to have children.

EPF, as revealed in the budget would introduce a new withdrawal category for couples who wished to undergo fertility treatment such as in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

The tax exemption of up to RM6,000 for medical treatment of serious illnesses would also be expanded to fertility treatment.

Dr Wan Azizah who is also Women, Family and Community Development Minister described Budget 2020 as more balanced and inclusive, as it gave priority to women and children.

She also noted the increase in allocation for setting up new child care centres/nurseries (Taska) in government buildings to RM30 million.

According to her, 60 Taska were built with the RM10 million allocation last year, surpassing the initial target of 50.

“For 2020, the government has increased the allocation to RM30 million for setting up Taska in government buildings particularly hospitals and schools.

“InsyaAllah, a greater number of Taska could be built to benefit more families, parents and children,” she said.

Still referring to the budget, Dr Wan Azizah noted the individual tax exemption increase from RM1,000 to RM2,000 on Taska and kindergarten (Tadika) fees.

“We hope more parents and guardians will choose Taska and Tadika that are registered, for the safety and wellbeing of their children,” she said.

On the RM23 million allocation for Education for special needs children (OKU), she said it was for improvement of facilities and accessibility at schools to render them more OKU-friendly.

“This is in line with the Zero Reject policy introduced by the Education Ministry where no OKU child would be denied the right to education because of condition, Alhamdulillah,” she said. — Bernama

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