Friday, May 20

Many support EPF contribution for housewives

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Women walk past the EPF building in Kuala Lumpur. Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has announced that any Malaysian housewife, upon meeting the criteria for eligibility, would receive EPF contribution of two per cent from her husband’s salary and RM50 from government fund. — Bernama photo

MIRI: The push by Malaysia’s first woman Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to have Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for housewives receives many thumbs-up here.

In a poll conducted yesterday, many locals interviewed were happy for this call and expressed their hope for more to be done, especially for single mothers and their children.

“This is great news to all women, especially housewives, with regard to their important roles and contributions towards the wellbeing of the family institution, which were never given recognition before.

“I salute the new government, on behalf of all housewives, for striving to make this a reality,” said honorary advisor of the Sarawak Federation of Women’s Institutes (SFWI) Datuk Ursula Goh, who is also former world president for Associated Country Women of the World (ACWW).

On the other hand Horry Bujang, who has been leading Sarawak Single Mothers Association of Miri for years, said although it is a good move by Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government, a lot more needs to be done for single mothers and parents.

“I’m more concerned about divorced mothers – their ex-husbands just forget their responsibilities.

“Single mothers have to take care of the expenses including rent, food and transportation with no maintenance, no EPF and no help – all while raising their children. These issues should be given top priority,” she said.

Horry stressed that unless help is forthcoming, these children and their mothers would continue to suffer.

“We can’t put a blindfold on this matter because it is a reality. Existing government welfare fund cannot help much due to high cost of living. Most of the total 900 registered members (single mothers) do not have good pay and 90 per cent of them have no support from former husbands,” she revealed.

Meanwhile Miri Indian Association (MIA) chairman Karambir Singh, who is an academician, said the proposal is reasonable and should be given full support from all quarters.

“Housewives are the backbone of any family, and they deserve to have such savings scheme that provides them with additional financial security.”

Karambir also hoped that the mechanism to manage the EPF scheme for housewives would be smooth and easy to implement.

Inland Revenue Board Miri branch assistant director Iqbal Abdollah welcomed this proposal and believed that it would be a part of the obligatory contributions to housewives, including his wife Suziana Suhor.

“The monies saved in EPF will be valuable passive income for housewives – it would greatly reduce their financial dependence, even if it’s temporary, in the event that their husbands pass away.

“In Islam, the word ‘nafkah zahir’ (physical provision) means a lot to a housewife as monthly money contribution for their own personal spending; it is the husband’s responsibility in a family,” said Iqbal.

Dr Wan Azizah, who is also Minister of Women and Family Development, had on Thursday stated that she would propose an EPF contribution for housewives, to comprise two per cent of the husband’s salary and RM50 from government funds.

The deputy prime minister is scheduled to meet with EPF officials next week to discuss the mechanism for the contribution, the criteria for eligibility, as well as related matters such as the contribution for the first and subsequent wives in the case of a Muslim marriage.

The EPF contribution for housewives is one of the promises made in the PH election manifesto that would have to be fulfilled in the first 100 days after taking over Putrajaya.