UN study shows almost half of breadwinners among KL’s poor do not have EPF or Socso coverage

Street vendors are seen waiting for customers on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman amid the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur October 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Street vendors are seen waiting for customers on Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman amid the conditional movement control order in Kuala Lumpur October 23, 2020. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 — A recent survey of the capital city’s poorest communities found that about 45 per cent of those heads of households who are working do not have Employees Provident Fund (EPF) or Social Security Organisation (Socso) coverage. 

Of this number, 41 per cent said they had not applied for aid from EPF and Socso because they were unaware of these savings and social protection schemes.

These were the findings of the second “Families on the Edge” report, jointly published by the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and Unicef United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), in tandem with research firm Developing Malaysia (DM) Analytics.

The report aimed to evaluate the socio-economic status of households in low-cost flats in Kuala Lumpur after the movement control order (MCO) in March. 

When it comes to heads of households with disabilities, a whopping 73 per cent were unprotected.

On average, 51 per cent of female heads of households were unprotected. 

When asked why they did not have EPF and Socso accounts, 41 per cent claimed ignorance of such schemes. 

A further 27 per cent said employers had not registered them for the benefits, while 22 per cent conceded they had no extra money to contribute to EPF and Socso.

Eight per cent cited “other reasons” for not having accounts, while another two per cent said they were unsure of the application process.

In highlighting the dire situation these families are in, the study also showed that 46 per cent of those surveyed said they had no employment benefits at all.

Sixty-eight per cent had no savings and half were not covered by EPF or Socso.

Also, roughly half of those eligible for Cost of Living Assistance (BSH) from the government, had not received such aid. 

Only two per cent of the self-employed were recipients of the PRIHATIN Special Grant (MicroSMEs) — a government aid to ease the burden of micro-entrepreneurs badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The findings of the report were based on telephone interviews with 500 heads of household in 16 low cost flats in Kuala Lumpur, from September 1 to October 7. This was designed to capture a sample of 61,713 households. 

It is important to note that the findings do not take into account the changes brought by the conditional movement control order (CMCO) that began on Oct 14. 


 

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