Educate the rakyat to keep their EPF savings instead of pushing early withdrawals

08 Mar 2023 06:07pm
Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

SHAH ALAM - The Unity government should take greater responsibility for educating the rakyat to keep their savings in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) instead of asking for early withdrawals.

On Tuesday, former prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the rakyat needed the EPF withdrawal now, not in 15 years.

The Bera MP further added that even though the Budget 2023 additional contribution of RM500 was widely accepted, the government should not ‘shut the door’ on the people.

Political analyst from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Dr Syaza Shukri said if the people wanted more withdrawals now, they couldn't be blamed as they are largely suffering economically.

"They think it's their money. Therefore, leaders should take responsibility to educate the people that if they don’t save now, ‘someone’ in the future will have to support them, and that ‘someone’ is the government through taxes from future generations (their kids and grandkids).

"We don’t blame the people, but the leaders who are taking advantage of people’s conditions for their political mileage (pushing for early withdrawals)," she stressed.

Syaza further added that the multiple withdrawals allowed by the previous governments were beneficial during the pandemic, and because of this the Rakyat will continue pushing for them.

"If the government gives in and allows further EPF withdrawal, they will look like the champion of the people.

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"In fact, if the government resists, they can portray the government as being against the people. Either way, it’s a win for them."

Echoing Syaza’s view, Universiti Teknologi Mara political analyst Dr Abdul Aziz Azizam said this was merely an extraordinary political move.

Aziz, on the other hand, noted that there could be some truth to it, which could sway votes towards the Perikatan Nasional in the upcoming state election.

Meanwhile, Singapore Institute of International Affairs senior fellow Dr Oh Ei Sun commented that EPF withdrawals were a populist move.

“Ismail Sabri used to be a prime minister, and I presume well that the national coffers are depleting rapidly and are not in a position to disburse more generously to the B40.

“So self-help is one of the few options left,” he added.