No to i-Citra, Malaysian Family Flood Aid enough - Unions

01 Jan 2022 01:46pm
Volunteers from the Prime Minister's Department cleaning kitchen utensils at flood victim's home in Kampung Asahan, Kuala Selangor yesterday (Dec 31, 2021). (Source: Bernama)
Volunteers from the Prime Minister's Department cleaning kitchen utensils at flood victim's home in Kampung Asahan, Kuala Selangor yesterday (Dec 31, 2021). (Source: Bernama)

Enough is enough, labour groups tells politicians pushing for another round of retirement funds withdrawal.

UNI-Malaysia Labour Centre (UNI-MLC) president Datuk Mohamed Shafie BP Mammal said the floods was a natural disaster impacted many people including those without Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings.

“Please take a second and think. Those affected by the floods are mostly from the M4 (middle 40 per cent) and B40 (bottom 40 per cent) groups.

“They may have finished all their EPF savings already since it was reported many have less than RM10,000 in their accounts, while some are old and already withdrawn all their savings post-retirement.

“The government needs to come to the rescue and be responsible for the cost of recovery. We all know the floods could have been avoided if authorities took the weather warnings seriously.

“Damage has been done, so I advise politicians to stop disturbing EPF,” he told Sinar Daily.

Mohamed Shafie clarified that his statements were not to protect EPF in any way but was to protect the labourers and employees from suffering at old age.

He said senior citizens make up the majority of the homeless population and if EPF withdrawals continues, things will only get worse.

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He added politicians needed to stop using this as political mileage and think about the people’s future.

EPF savings, he said was for the future when employees retire not to aid themselves in the present.

“The private sectors employees are not like the civil servants where they will get monthly pensions for old age. If we use up all the EPF savings now, we won’t have any left for later,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) acting president Mohd Effendy Abdul Ghani said this was the time for EPF to rebuild their retirement savings post-pandemic, not for more withdrawals.

He said the government has provided more than enough aid, stating that the initial Malaysian Family Flood Aid programmes has even increased in terms of services.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri announced cash aids worth RM10,000 to flood victims in the form of RM1,000 Bantuan Wang Ihsan, RM500 voucher for electrical items, RM1,000 voucher for the purpose of purchase or repairs vehicles, RM2,500 for essential goods and RM5,000 for home improvements to those who suffered non-serious damage.

For homes that suffered serious damage, the government itself would manage the house overhaul at a cost of up to RM15,000, while homes destroyed by the flood will be given assistance up to RM56,000 to build a new home.

“The government are providing the aid needed by those affected by the floods. This is good news.

“What are seeking now is to expedite the process,” Effendy said.

As of yesterday, 48 people have died while thousands of people displaced from their homes, mostly seeking shelter at the government’s temporary evacuation centres.

On Thursday, Umno President Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the government had the political will to allow the extension of EPF's i-Citre scheme.

He said this on his Facebook post, urging the government to "not ignore the needs of the people because where there is a will, there's a way".