By P PREM KUMAR & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for housewives from their working husbands will be implemented on a voluntary basis and would only be made compulsory at a later stage.
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail (picture) said the federal government will first introduce the plan on a voluntary basis, and will make the contribution compulsory after amendments to the EPF Act 1991 are completed.
She said the entire implementation will be made in three phases, the second of which will be for voluntary contributions with an extension to social protection coverage by Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) — which needs an amendment to the Employees Social Security Act 1969.
“Implementation of this scheme will benefit housewives not only in the form of savings for the future, but also social protection benefits under SOCSO,” she told Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Dr Wan Azizah, who is also the women, family and community development minister, was responding to Kuala Nerus MP Datuk Dr Mohd Khairuddin Aman Razali, who asked the government for updates on the proposed implementation of EPF contributions for the housewives.
She said for the implementation of the first phase of the scheme, the ministry is preparing a Cabinet memorandum, which is expected to be tabled during the next meeting.
She said the second and third phases of the scheme are expected to require a longer period of time as the implementation of compulsory contributions and coverage of social security protection by SOCSO requires amendments to existing act, policies and regulations under the EPF and SOCSO.
“EPF and SOCSO are currently under the purview of the Finance Ministry and Human Resources Ministry respectively,” she pointed out.
The government had pledged to introduce EPF contributions for housewives in its 14th General Election manifesto.
Dr Wan Azizah said the scheme will involve savings to housewives through the contributions of their working husband’s EPF at a rate of 2% and a government contribution of RM50 per month.
“This contribution is basically a form of encouragement for men to take responsibility and demonstrate a commitment to savings as a future protection for wives and children,” she said.
Dr Wan Azizah also said the government’s RM50 allocation will only be paid for the first wife of Muslims who are married to more than one wife. “The other wives are the responsibilities of the husbands. We can only provide RM50 for the first wife…the rest we might consider next time when the fiscal condition is healthy,” she said.
Private sector employees nationwide currently contribute a minimum of 11% from their basic salary to EPF, while employers contribute 13% to the employees’ account.