Disallowing special EPF withdrawals unpopular but in the interest of contributors - Anwar

08 May 2023 03:06pm
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim - BERNAMA
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim - BERNAMA

SHAH ALAM - For the sake of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors’ future, the government has taken an unpopular decision to no longer allow special withdrawals from the fund, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

He said the EPF is a statutory body entrusted with a big responsibility of protecting contributors’ savings and it has to keep to this objective.

"That’s why despite strong political pressure for withdrawals, I agreed with the management’s proposal and took the unpopular decision to disallow further (special) withdrawals because the duties, promises and pledges of the contributors are in line with the promise that was signed for their future.

"But during the (Covid-19) pandemic, I was one of those who insisted that it (withdrawal) be allowed because of the urgent situation during the emergency then, and the figure reached RM145 billion," he said when opening the Menara KWSP in Kwasa Damansara here today.

However, Anwar said the situation had changed and the people were now free to go about their daily lives, and he did not want the EPF to deviate from its objective just to meet the wishes of certain parties.

Anwar said he believed the issue of special EPF withdrawals would be played up in the six state elections due this year but this did not prevent the government from remaining firm in its decision.

"In our wisdom, we do what is right and should not be dragged into making a decision just to satisfy some people. For those who are really facing hardships, the issue of eradicating poverty, the issue of eliminating extreme poverty, I will not reject.

"That's why I said if GLC (government-linked companies), GLIC (government-linked investment companies), EPF and others including Khazanah, ministries and departments can avoid leakages, we can help the people," he said.

Meanwhile, Anwar described the Menara KWSP Kwasa Damansara as a landmark signifying service with integrity and responsibility.

"If we look at this new development area, it gives an impression that sustainability awareness is not only about the achievement of rapid growth but also taking into account sustainability and green values that benefit the people.

"This includes solving national problems; good management and governance can make rapid progress but must be managed with integrity and the elimination of all forms of leakage and corruption," he added. - BERNAMA

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