Lockdowns, personal finance issues among readers’ top choice in 2021

Economic impact due to Covid-19 and the emergence of bitcoin are also the most read news for this year 


PERSONAL finance issues and the nationwide lockdown announcement remain the most read stories on The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) website, based on our data for the year. 

The economic impact due to Covid-19 and the emergence of bitcoin have also joined the rank of our most read news, indicating trends that more readers are wary of their own finances, as well as exploring other investment portfolios to prepare against economic downtrend. 

That being said, the performance of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) which was reported to exceed Permodalan Nasional Bhd’s (PNB) 4.25% dividend for 2020, making it the first time the retirement fund has outperformed PNB’s benchmark Amanah Saham Bumiputera (ASB), had topped the most-read news of 2021. 

We would like to thank you for your support as we look forward to bringing the latest, more insightful news on current socio-economic issues in 2022. 

In the meantime, here’s a recap of our most read articles: 

Dividend payout: EPF may do better than ASB

Sources told TMR that the EPF is said to be considering a dividend payout of between 5% and 6% for 2020, bucking the trend on lower yields in a pandemic year. 

One of the reasons, the source said, would mostly depend on EPF gains from its investments. 

“Another would be the nature of its investment portfolio, I believe that’s where they made their gains, despite the pandemic,” the person who requested anonymity added. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/01/27/dividendpayout-epf-may-do-better-than-asb/ 

Selangor accepts lockdown proposal, with conditions

In May, the Selangor government said it would accept the decision for a total lockdown in the state, provided that clearer standard operating procedures (SOPs) and financial aids will be channelled to the people throughout the period. 

This is in response to the federal government’s plan to impose a lockdown to curb the rising Covid-19 cases at that time, despite then Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s assurance that there would only be a targeted ban, instead of a blanket movement restriction order. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/05/20/selangor-accepts-lockdown-proposalwith-conditions/ 

About 30% or 1.6m EPF members may have exhausted nearly all of their retirement savings in Account 1, leaving a minimum required balance of RM100 in the aftermath of various Covid-19 related programmes


EPF may need to re-strategise for i-Sinar withdrawals

EPF may be forced to deviate from its investment strategy following the decision to allow i-Sinar withdrawal without conditions in February this year. 

Experts said the fund may need to have a higher percentage of its investment in liquid investments. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/02/16/epf-mayneed-to-re-strategise-to-cater-to-isinar-withdrawals/ 

Better dividend anticipated from EPF

We reported that it is estimated that 2021 will require around RM10 billion for every 1% dividend payout. 

Economic analyst Assoc Prof Dr Baharom Abdul Hamid told TMR that EPF would pay a higher dividend — the best case scenario would be on par with the previous year. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/11/09/better-dividend-anticipated-from-epf/ 

50,000 SMEs face closure under MCO 3.0

In June, the SME Association of Malaysia national VP Chin Chee Seong said about 100,000 companies have ceased operations since the first Movement Control Order (MCO). 

More than 50,000 would suffer a similar fate if the lockdown is extended, he said. 

The association has close to 10,000 direct and indirect members. Chin suggested that the government introduce an auto moratorium for six months to all micro entrepreneurs, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are affected, not only those that cannot operate during MCO. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/06/08/50000smes-face-closure-under-mco-3-0/ 

37-year-old Malaysian the youngest Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen 2021

Nadiah Wan, a 37-year-old Malaysian who is the group CEO and ED of TMC Life, has been named to 

Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list for 2021, making her the youngest of the 20 female business leaders listed across Asia Pacific. 

Forbes Asia’s Power Businesswomen list this year honoured 20 outstanding leaders who managed to adapt and thrive in industries including technology, healthcare, banking and manufacturing. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/11/02/37-yearold-malaysian-the-youngest-forbesasias-power-businesswomen-2021/ 

EPF members exhaust savings 

About 30% or 1.6 million EPF members may have exhausted nearly all of their retirement savings in Account 1, leaving a minimum required balance of RM100 in the aftermath of various Covid-19 related programmes. 

EPF CEO at that time Tunku Alizakri Raja Muhammad Alias said the other issue worth noting is 

that close to 60% or three million members have or will use up all savings in Account 2. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/03/01/epfmembers-exhaust-savings/ 

Experts: MCO extension without aid may damage livelihood further

The extension of the Full MCO for an unspecified time will do more harm to the people’s livelihood, experts told TMR. 

The World Bank Group suggested that the government extend targeted aid and increase the amount of stimulus package as previous packages were small and short-term in nature. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/06/25/expertsmco-extension-without-aid-maydamage-livelihood-further/ 

EPF contributors turn to bitcoin

The uptrend and rally of bitcoin last year has driven some EPF contributors to use their retirement savings to invest in digital coin assets. 

An industry observer warned the public to conduct a self-risk assessment in dealing with investments with a volatile portfolio. 

“The rule of thumb is to split your investment by 80-20, with 80% of it being on less volatile assets, while 20% is high risk, so you would not be severely affected when the investment went south too much.” 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/03/16/epf-contributors-turn-to-bitcoin/ 

Data shows average cost of living in KL is RM3,300 monthly

The cost of living for a single person in Kuala Lumpur (KL) is estimated at about RM3,262, which remains the cheapest among its South-East Asian peers, according to data by iPrice Group Sdn Bhd. 

Still, the cost is almost three times higher from Malaysia’s minimum wage of RM1,200 in major towns. 

“However, according to Numbeo’s database, KL ranked second-highest in monthly average net salary of RM4,259, right behind Singaporeans, who are estimated to earn RM10,195 a month. 

To recap, read: https://themalaysianreserve.com/2021/04/26/datashows-average-cost-of-living-in-kl-isrm3300-monthly/