KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — All contributors to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) whose income are affected by the Covid-19 pandemic can now apply to withdraw their savings, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz has said today.
He said the withdrawal applies to contributors regardless of whether they have lost their jobs or suffered a loss of income.
“The i-Sinar Programme will now be opened to all EPF contributors who have seen their incomes affected.
“Regardless of whether they have lost their jobs or experienced a loss of income, these members are eligible to apply for withdrawal from their EPF Account 1,” Tengku Zafrul said during his winding-up speech on the Budget 2021.
He added that this included those who are from the formal sector, self-employed, and whether or they are still active contributors.
“As long as their income has suffered severe losses [they] can withdraw savings from their EPF Account One.
“All they need to do is apply online or at EPF branches.
“[Just need to] show proof of job lost, forced unpaid leave, salary cut, allowance or overtime and income loss if self-employed,” he said referring to the programme now extended to cover over eight million contributors.
The increase in withdrawal amount is among two conditions made by Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs in exchange for their support of the Budget 2021 Bill.
The coalition had on November 10 list two conditions where it wanted the government to raise the withdrawal limit for Account One in the EPF to RM10,000 and for a blanket extension of the loan moratorium until next June.
The Opposition MPs however cast doubts over the move made by Tengku Zafrul.
PKR Subang MP Wong Chen raised concerns over how the EPF would be able to recover funds that have been channelled to these withdrawals.
“Your suggestion to allow RM70 billion from EPF, but the EPF's yearly influent is only RM20 billion.
“This means that EPF will have to find RM50 billion worth of funds for next year. From where? Sell its shares?” said Wong.
Another Opposition MP, PKR's Permatang Pauh MP Nurul Izzah Anwar also asked the government to state steps that would be taken to protect contributors with low Account 1 savings ― below RM10,000.
“My stand throughout the debate is that EPF savings is only to be used as a last resort.
“So I hope that, Minister, you could state what are the steps the government has put in place to ensure that the withdrawal takes into account the contributors social safety net,” said Nurul Izzah.
On financial moratorium, Tengku Zafrul said all of the top 20 per cent, middle 40 and bottom 40 households are eligible.
“The B40 group will get automatic moratorium. The traders will also get automatic moratorium,” he said.
As for the M40 group, he said, they only needed to make a self-declaration without submission of any document.
“For those who are not under any of the segments mentioned, they can still apply for a moratorium from respective banks,” he said.
Zafrul added that more than 700,000 Malaysians have applied for financial moratorium under the second moratorium phase, which has been included in the Budget 2021.
Previously, the first phase financial moratorium was announced for a period of six months, from March to October this year.
Under Budget 2021, although the moratorium had been extended to December this year, Zafrul announced that B40 and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) could opt for a three-month moratorium or a 50 per cent reduction of their monthly instalments for six months.