KUCHING: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak has expressed their disappointment with Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s announcement that Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors can withdraw RM500 from Account II of their savings.
“We are very disappointed at the (federal) government’s insistence to exploit workers’ already meagre EPF savings to bail it out the economic malaise caused by the Coronavirus Disease (Covid-19) pandemic.
“It Is embarrassing and morally wrong for the the Prime Minister to claim that this is part of a package to assist the rakyat as it is our own money,” said MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo in a press statement today.
Lo was commenting on Muhyiddin’s announcement yesterday that EPF contributors can apply to withdraw RM500 from Account II of their savings for a period of 12 months starting from April 1 this year,
Instead of asking workers to withdraw their savings from EPF, Lo said the federal government should emulate the measures taken by the state government by providing cash assistance instead.
Lo also said the move taken by the federal government showed that “the government is bankrupt of funds and ideas and taking the easy way out apart from showing a lack of leadership and is a result of years of incompetent economic management”.
He said in time like this, the country needs brave fiscal policies and able leadership, not knee jerk reaction.
“Almost 33 per cent of active EPF contributors have less than RM6,000 in Account II as at December 2018. 28 per cent have less than RM10,000 total EPF savings and most of the B40 group falls into these category,” he said.
Thus, Lo said that MTUC Sarawak would like advise all EPF members to elect to maintain the monthly contribution rates and not to make the monthly withdrawal because MTUC thinks that nobody is going to take care of contributors in their old age.
Apart from that, he opined that EPF contributors must also demand from their respective elected representatives that the government must provide the assistance for them too.
MTUC Sarawak therefore welcomes the move of the state government in providing cash assistance of RM250 per month for six months to the B40 as such assistance is better then nothing.