Bangi MP says Najib, Zahid not looking out for Malaysians, but their own interests in pushing EPF withdrawals

Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming speaks during a press conferences in Kuala Lumpur May 3, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming speaks during a press conferences in Kuala Lumpur May 3, 2021. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

Follow us on Instagram and subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates.

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 5 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s continuous calls to Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to allow its contributors to dip into their accounts for withdrawals is not in their best interests, DAP lawmaker Ong Kian Ming said today.

The Bangi MP said despite EPF revealing that 3.6 million account holders have less than RM1,000 in their accounts, Najib’s constant calls to allow more withdrawals is an indication that he is not looking into the long-term interests of EPF contributors — which includes the Bumiputera community.

“Instead, he is resorting to increasing populist and financially irresponsible ways of appealing to the public, thinking that he can fool them into believing him and his malu apa bossku rhetoric,” he said in a statement.

Ong said that Umno president Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi is employing a similar tactic by calling for EPF withdrawals to continue, and that both he and Najib are more concerned about saving themselves from jail time instead of helping the rakyat.

“I would not be surprised if they resort to more and more populist measures to fool the rakyat into thinking that they are trying to save the people but in reality, it’s all about trying to save themselves.

“I sincerely hope that the rakyat won’t be fooled by the popularity stunts of Najib and Zahid,” he said.

The former deputy minister then shared his hope that more reasonable voices within the Umno leadership would also voice the same concerns on Najib and Zahid’s calls for continued EPF withdrawals, adding that doing so would have serious long term consequences, especially to those who do not have much left in their accounts.

Ong said that Najib has already shown that his interest only lay in himself and not members and contributors of EPF, when he approved the purchase of Eagle High Point (EHP) — an Indonesian plantation company owned by a close friend of Najib — by Felda Global Ventures (FGV) at an inflated premium of 70 per cent.

“The deal was pushed through by the then FGV CEO, no doubt with the approval of Najib, at a cost of RM2.3 billion.

In 2019, Felda Director General, Dr Othman Omar, lodged a police report claiming that Felda was cheated in the purchase of EHP with an inflated price of more than 300 per cent!” he said.

On November 1, Najib had urged the government to raise the maximum withdrawal for the EPF i-Citra facility to RM10,000.

In making the call, Najib said the proposal is not a populist move, but stemmed from the urgent need of the people post-Covid-19 pandemic.

Three days later, Najib defended his calls to allow the withdrawals, saying that the move would kickstart the economy.

Last December 14, Zahid also urged the government to allow further withdrawals from the retirement fund to help those still reeling from the economic effects of Covid-19.

Prior to this, EPF had warned its members that using pension savings for any emergency would lead to their having “very low” savings in their retirement years and said the problem could be compounded by other uncertainties, such as rising healthcare costs.

It said the withdrawals had left 6.1 million members — nearly half the fund’s contributors — with less than RM10,000 in their accounts.

Of that number, 3.6 million members have less than RM1,000, a far cry from the RM240,000 the EPF had set as the minimum amount members should have when they reach the age of 55 in order to have a “decent retirement”.

You May Also Like

Related Articles