By NG MIN SHEN / Pic By MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has credited the government-approved incentive payment totalling RM9.51 million to the accounts of Caruman Sukarela i-Suri members for 2018, as part of the government’s financial aid for housewives.
In a recent statement, the retirement fund said the amount refers to the RM40 monthly incentive credited into 49,857 i-Suri account holders who have made a minimum contribution of RM5 on a monthly basis.
Members of i-Suri may check their accounts online via EPF kiosks or at any EPF counters nationwide, starting April 5.
“The EPF encourages more housewives to the head of household or female head of household, whose profiles are enlisted in the National Database on Poverty (eKasih), to register for i-Suri.
“Members can contribute a minimum of RM5 on a monthly basis into their retirement savings account in order to be eligible to receive the government incentive of RM40 per month,” the fund said.
In addition to the cash incentive, eligible i-Suri members also enjoy the same benefits as members of EPF, such as annual dividends on their retirement savings, withdrawals of EPF savings, incapacitation benefit and death benefit.
The i-Suri programme is a scheme introduced by the Pakatan Harapan administration with the aim of safeguarding the social security of housewives, particularly those categorised as poor or hardcore poor.
The first phase of the pension programme entails the aforementioned RM5 minimum monthly deposit by i-Suri members that is then matched by a RM40 contribution from the government.
A total of 359,065 Malaysians under the eKasih database are eligible for phase one of the incentive, which was allocated RM20 million by the government until end-2018 and an additional RM45 million for 2019.
The second phase, which is expected to be launched this year, will see the government’s contribution being raised to RM50, of which RM10 will go to the Social Security Organisation.
The third phase involves 2% being transferred from a husband’s EPF account to that of the housewife’s. However, as legislative changes are required for the 2% to be transferred, this phase is expected to begin only in early 2020.
Since the introduction of the scheme on Aug 15, 2018 until Feb 28 this year, a total of 84,143 women have registered with i-Suri, according to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
Dr Wan Azizah said last month that with the additional RM45 million allocation, the government is targeting 100,000 women — including those in the eKasih database — to register for the programme by June 30 this year.