EPF withdrawal helps ease burden of target groups

KUALA LUMPUR – The targeted Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Account 1 withdrawal facility has been described as the best measure to help ease the burden of those affected by COVID-19 with regard to household expenses.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (FOMCA) deputy president Mohd Yusof Abdul Rahman said the facility was seen as being able to help restore the economic cycle of the affected groups.

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“At the same time, the government is still continuing the i-Lestari Account 2 withdrawal scheme which is expected to end in March next year.

“They (contributors) can now withdraw up to RM1,000 from EPF accounts 1 and 2 to relieve them of their financial burden due to the pandemic,” he told Bernama.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz when tabling Budget 2021 yesterday announced a targeted Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) Account 1 withdrawal facility of RM500 per month, up to a maximum of RM6,000 for 12 months.

Mohd Yusof also described Budget 2021 as being comprehensive despite the government was facing various financial constraints.

“The initiatives provided under the budget will not only help reduce the people’s burden but also revitalise the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile the Consumers’ Association of Penang (CAP) and Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) in a joint statement today said the budget could be seen as a response to the challenges faced in the current COVID-19 situation and economic downturn.

SAM president Meenakshi Raman described the RM400 million allocation for all states for biodiversity protection as a good first move in an effort to protect the country’s biodiversity and forests.

“We hope that with this increased allocation, our rivers will be better protected and we will see less water disruption due to raw water contamination,” she said.

However, Meenakshi said she was a bit disappointed as there was no special mention of efforts to address the climate change issues.

CAP president, Mohideen Abdul Kader welcomed the announcement that the government would be freezing the issuance of import licence for cigarettes and impose an excise duty on electronic, non-electronic cigarette devices and vape liquids beginning January 2021.

The Malaysian Islamic Development Foundation (YaPEIM) hoped that women would take advantage of the RM50 million allocation announced by the government in Budget 2021 to support Islamic financing activities through Ar-Rahnu BizNita and empower women entrepreneurs.

Its acting director Parihah Hasan said the initiative could also help improve the socio-economic status of the group by making gold a stable and reliable medium of saving.

“The objective of Ar-Rahnu BizNita is to increase women’s accessibility to financing under the Ar Rahnu Micro Credit programme as a medium to obtain business capital.

“YaPEIM believes that this allocation will not only encourage women to venture into entrepreneurship but also help the existing women entrepreneurs out there to grow their business,” she said in a statement.

— BERNAMA