Allow contributors to make additional EPF withdrawals

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

PARTI Ikatan Bangsa Malaysia is urging the government to allow contributors to make additional withdrawals from their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings to survive in this challenging period.

Its youth council chief Shahir Adnan said the move could be part of the National Recovery Plan’s Phase One, so that people can continue to pay rent and put food on their tables, even if they have no income.

He added that while the first phase is likely to take longer than 45 days, to date, the automatic moratorium i-Sinar and i-Lestari 2.0 have not been proposed by the Finance Minister.

“People are increasingly squeezed by the pressures of the present situation, including the middle 40% (M40) group in the cities. Small and medium enterprises also need a moratorium on loans because their businesses are affected.

“More than 600,000 M40 households have fallen into the below 40% (B40) category due to the Covid-19 crisis affecting their incomes,” he said in a recent statement.

Shahir noted that based on a study and information from the Statistics Department, at least 8% of the total 7.28 million households experienced a decline in income below the maximum below B40 income level, which is RM4,850 per month.

He said the sharp decline in income levels has sparked concerns about widening inequality and its impact on Malaysia’s socio-economic position.

He added that the party was disappointed to hear that many people in the country are now suffering because there is no source of income.

“It was reported that a woman was experiencing emotional stress from being laid off and had attempted to commit suicide from the 32nd floor of a condominium in Damansara.

“It was understood that the victim had financial problems and was driven out by the landlord after failing to pay rent for her room,” he noted.

Therefore, Shahir said the additional withdrawal from EPF can help contributors to stay afloat in this difficult period.