No overseas travel for EPF defaulters

The bill also allows a member to transfer his EPF contributions into the account of his lawful wife

Pic By ARIF KARTONO

LAWMAKERS passed the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) (Amendment) Bill 2019 yesterday which, among others, would restrict anyone with unpaid outstanding dues to the retirement fund from leaving the country.

The Bill was approved by a simple majority voice vote after a three-hour debate in the Dewan Rakyat.

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah (picture) said the amended Section 39 of the Act summarises the intention of “preventing a person from leaving Malaysia without paying contributions”.

He said the EPF CEO may issue to the DG of Immigration Department a certificate containing particulars of the person who would likely leave Malaysia without paying any outstanding and due contributions under this Act.

“Unless, he pays the outstanding and due contributions, or furnishes security to the satisfaction of the CEO for its payment,” Amiruddin said, reading out Subsection 1 (a) of Section 39, while winding-up in the lower house yesterday.

The Bill states that any person who leaves Malaysia without paying the outstanding contributions, despite knowing that such a letter has been issued, shall be guilty of an offence.

Any person found guilty of the offence shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine of not more than RM2,000, according to the EPF (Amendment) Bill 2019.

“Contributions”, according to Amiruddin, includes any dividend or late payment charges due on any contributions.

“Employers can check whether they are on the travel ban list with the Immigration Department, although it won’t have details on the outstanding amount,” he added.

According to the EPF’s website, the fund had 14.09 million members as of September last year, 7.2 million of which are still active.

The Bill also seeks to allow a member to transfer his EPF contributions into the account of his lawful wife. However, Amiruddin said there is no plan to allow women to transfer their EPF contributions to their husbands.

“As of now, there is no plan to do so. Even if the wife is allowed to transfer, say, 2% of her 11% contribution to her husband, the sum contributed (to EPF) remains the same; there won’t be any increase in investments even if we allow it,” Amiruddin said in reply to an inquiry by MP Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim (Barisan Nasional-Arau).

Amiruddin said contributors could also apply for such transfers by submitting the relevant particulars or documents and choose for it to be done on a monthly basis or in accordance with some other period.

In the explanatory statement of the Bill, it is stated that the proposed Section 53D provides that a member of the fund who fulfils the conditions and criteria as specified in the Eight Schedule may elect to transfer his contributions at the rate specified into the account of another member of the fund who is or are his lawful wife or wives.

In the event of a divorce or death of the wife, the contributor may apply to cease the transfer by submitting the relevant particulars or documents.