KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 — The i-Citra initiative is designed for members to withdraw their savings primarily from Account 2 as the facility is already set up for members to access it for specific needs such as paying for home loans, medical expenses and education fees, according to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

Its chief executive officer (CEO), Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, said all members below the age of 55 are eligible to apply for i-Citra, which allows them to withdraw up to a maximum of RM5,000 subject to their total combined balance in both Account 1 and 2.

The approved withdrawal amount will be paid for a period of up to five months, with a fixed monthly payment of RM1,000 per month subject to savings balance and a minimum of RM50.

“If the amount in Account 2 is inadequate, then we will allow depositors to access Account 1.

“We are trying to find a balance between helping people and making sure that they also have adequate (savings) during retirement,” he said in a virtual “MIDF Conversations” session with Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Bhd (MIDF) group managing director Datuk Charon Mokhzani.

The i-Citra withdrawal facility is a continuation of previous EPF withdrawal initiatives known as i-Lestari and i-Sinar.

During the i-Sinar and i-Lestari initiatives, Amir Hamzah said a total of RM80 billion have been paid out.

“We are here, mandated to help the people after their retirement but we also understand that the Covid-19 pandemic is an unusual circumstance.

“We understand that and we are trying to find a way to give people, within reasons, access to their funds,” he said.

Amir Hamzah also said the key here is making sure that the EPF does not lose the mandate of helping people with their retirement savings.

“At the end of the day, we must remember that we must also continue to address the pension issue for the nation.

“If we allow total savings to drain out, which is now already a problem, it will become an unmanageable issue.

“That is the balancing act the EPF has to do,” the CEO said.

In a statement Monday, EPF said members can begin applying for the facility on the i-Citra online portal at icitra.kwsp.gov.my starting from July 15, 2021, with the first payment expected to be credited in respective member accounts in August 2021.

Effective January 1, 2007, a member’s EPF savings account consists of Account 1 and 2 that vary by their share of savings and withdrawal flexibilities.

Account 1 holds 70 per cent of the members’ monthly contribution, while Account 2 holds 30 per cent. — Bernama