i-Sinar approvals to start from March 8

The amendments to the facility involves substantial changes to the system, process and governance required for i-Sinar Online

by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH

APPROVAL for the i-Sinar facility for members below the age of 55 will begin from March 8, the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said.

This will include new applications received after that date, subject to their available balance in Account 1.

“The fund appreciates members’ patience and understanding while these changes are being implemented, as the amendments to the i-Sinar facility announced on Feb 11 involves substantial changes to the system, process and governance required for i-Sinar Online,” EPF said in a statement yesterday.

However, the amount for withdrawal, as well as the maximum six-month payment schedule of the amount withdrawn will remain.

For those who have RM100,000 and below (Account 1), they have access to any withdrawal amount of up to RM10,000. The payments will be staggered over a period of six months with the first payment of up to RM5,000.

For those who have above RM100,000, they have access of up to 10% of their Account 1 savings. However, the maximum amount for withdrawal allowed is RM60,000. The payments will be staggered over a period of six months with the first payment of up to RM10,000.

The removal of the i-Sinar criteria will also mean that the interim payment of RM1,000 implemented last month will be effectively stopped.

The fund advises members who have not made any application for the i-Sinar facility and intend to apply during this transition period, to defer their application until the revised i-Sinar comes online on March 8. This will reduce processing time and speed up crediting of their funds.

To date, RM18.5 billion has been released under the i-Sinar facility since applications opened in December 2020, benefitting 3.3 million members.

Earlier, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said easing the approval process will involve alteration to the EPF system which requires time.

“This will involve changes (to the system). Time is also needed to freeze transactions for a short duration to enable the system to credit the dividend payment for 2020 into members’ accounts pending the announcement at the end of February,” Tengku Zafrul said during the 41st Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit between National Agencies report on Facebook yesterday.

“The government is always sensitive to the basic daily needs of the vulnerable and those most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. This can be seen from the most recent decisions such as the removal of conditions for EPF i-Sinar to make it easier for members to withdraw from their Account 1 savings.”

Last week, Tengku Zafrul said EPF was working towards removing all conditions for the i-Sinar facility on the advice of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin after taking into consideration public feedback on the initiative.

Updating on the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) and Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package, Tengku Zafrul said 322,177 employers and 2.64 million employees had received the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) benefits as of Feb 5 under its first phase which amounted to RM12.76 billion.

For WSP’s second phase, a total of RM770.31 million had been channelled to 65,398 employers to allow them to continue operating and maintain employment for 534,183 employees, he added.

Tengku Zafrul said the government has also disbursed RM1.25 billion out of the RM2 billion allocated under the Penjana’s financing scheme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as of Feb 5, involving 6,613 applications.

For Penjana’s tourism financing, the government has approved 282 applications from the total 579 that were submitted, with total approved financing of RM57.1 million.

For the initiative supporting the agriculture and food industry, Tengku Zafrul said RM85.6 million had been channelled through the Agrobank Microcredit Financing Scheme, which benefits 7,723 agricultural micro SMEs, as well as farmers and fishermen.

Previously, the government announced the extension of the sales tax relief for passenger vehicles until June 30, 2021, as a measure to further boost the automotive sector and Malaysia’s economic activities.

“The sales tax incentive includes a 100% exemption for locally assembled cars and a 50% reduction for fully imported models.

“As of Feb 5, the value of sales tax relief utilised stood at RM232.96 million, compared to RM201.51 million in the previous week,” he said.


Read our previous report here

i-Sinar approval from March 8: EPF