Public dissatisfied with i-Sinar criteria

Some even express that the scheme is ‘unhelpful and insufficient’ to aid them during the current economic downturn


GROUSES and complaints are piling up on various issues pertaining to i-Sinar, barely a day after the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) initiated the facility that is meant to assist depositors who are severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some even expressed on various social media platforms that the scheme is “unhelpful and insufficient” to aid them during the current economic downturn.

The EPF’s Facebook page yesterday was inundated with questions mainly on the criteria for Category 2 which only allows employed members who have experienced an overall income reduction of 30% and above to apply for i-Sinar.

Page visitor Eric Woo said the government should have been more understanding instead of putting requirements for the public who want to tap on their pension fund.

“Must there be terms and conditions for us to withdraw our own money? The government should not be (behaving) like this,” he said.

Another user Siti Natassha Azhar said the criteria and details for the withdrawal are unfair as everyone is affected by the pandemic which has also put the nation into various stages of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March.

“It is unfair. Everyone is affected especially during the MCO. Although basic (salary) is still available, 90% of us have to use our own savings,” she said.

Syahadah Zulkefli said while her basic salary is not affected, the same could be said about her other side income that is affected, with no documentation to support her application.

“After Covid-19 hit the country, everything has to stop until today. How can I provide documents and evidence for that?”

Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak posted a video on his Facebook page in response to the matter stating that the government should improve the criteria if it is aware of the people’s needs.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) Backbencher Club’s chairman said he will continue to fight for the matter as it is the people’s demand.

“If the government maintains the strict requirements, it will continue to anger the people. If the government cares and is aware of the people’s needs, this is the time for it to improve the announcement made by the EPF,” he said in his Facebook post yesterday.

Najib had proposed in the Dewan Rakyat last month for the government to allow a one-off withdrawal of RM10,000 from EPF Account 1 to help those in need of cash during the pandemic.

This is among the requirements made by him on behalf of BN with regards to Budget 2021.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz stated in his wrap-up for the Supply Bill in Parliament last week that EPF contributors will be allowed to withdraw up to RM10,000 from Account 1 through the facility which will benefit narrative of Dr Mahathir grovelling to the courts to meet Anwar and seek reconciliation.

Both are seasoned political players and they knew what they needed to do to bring about the fall of the Barisan Nasional behemoth.

For Dr Mahathir, if he wanted to put a stop to Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak’s kleptocracy, only a united Opposition would make it possible.

If Anwar’s supporters painted him as being magnanimous, Dr Mahathir’s supporters would reply that he was prepared to swallow his pride for the sake of the nation.

What should be the more important point is that the victory was delivered and if Muhyiddin’s government, they insist is illegitimate, is to be replaced, a new and formidable approach would need to be formulated.

It is probably time to reset PH or better still build a new coalition, one that is without the excess baggage of the recent past and a coalition of the willing.

Holding on to a coalition that is struggling to live up to expectations, at times suspected of being prepared to consider the about eight million depositors who have been financially affected.

On Wednesday, the EPF had announced two categories for i-Sinar. Category 1 includes eligible members who work in the formal sector, self-employed, work in the gig economic sector, who have not contributed for a while, faced job loss, housewives or who have been given unpaid leave notice.

It also includes members who have no contribution with the statutory body for at least two months consecutively during application, as well as members who are still employed, but experienced a reduction in basic salary by 30% and above after March 30.

Members will need to apply for the facility from Dec 21 and it will be automatically approved based on EPF internal data.

Meanwhile, Category 2 is for members who are still employed, but had an overall income reduction of 30% and above, including reduction in salaries and allowances or deduction in overtime work claims after March this year. The reduction must be supported by necessary documents.

Read our earlier report

Public voices dissatisfaction over i-Sinar criteria