BINTULU: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Bintulu branch was thronged by a huge number of its members who wanted to apply for the i-Sinar facility under Category 2 yesterday.
Though the application can be made online at isinar.kwsp.gov.my, most of them preferred to go directly to the office as they needed the officers to assist.
Some of them when met while queuing at the line also said they were not very familiar with the online system and some said they had to go to the office to apply.
Two EPF officers were seen outside the office to provide details and explanation to the public on the procedures and criteria – one at the help desk and one announcing with a megaphone loud hailer.
Some members of the public even asked the officers if supporting documents for the i-Sinar facility under Category 2 could be attached and submitted with their application via the online system.
For those who are not technologically savvy, they might not have other choice but to go personally to the office to seek assistance although it is not a wise decision at the moment due to the spike in Covid-19 cases.
“If we know how to do it, we would prefer to stay at home instead of risking our life queuing in long line with others which might expose us to the risk of Covid-19 infection,” said Mutie Bandan, 45, a housewife from Sg Plan in Kidurong.
She said it was indeed a nightmare for her to stay outside with other people for a long period of time, particularly with the emergence of a new cluster in Sibu recently.
“But what else can I do, I don’t know how to do it online,” she said.
According to her, this was her first application for the i-Sinar and it would be better for her to talk to the officer.
“I really hope that my application today will be approved because in this challenging situation, we from the low income families are very badly affected financially,” added Mutie who hailed from Sri Aman.
Mutie said Covid-19 really caused a lot of problem to everyone and her family too, and withdrawing their savings would help them cope with hardship brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“If we don’t have essential things to do outside, please stay at home to protect our family from the virus,” she advised.
Meanwhile for Sibat Gawal, 52, from Balingian Mukah, he urged the government to consider approving the withdrawal applications by all EPF members whose income is affected by Covid-19.
“The government should consider giving some relaxation to EPF members to withdraw their savings, we are in desperate situation, with low income, we need this,” he said.
According to him, many applicants who applied online earlier were rejected and that was probably the reason why most of them went to the EPF office.
The same case happened to him, he added, though his online application was approved but not his wife’s who works as a general worker at a construction site.
“Maybe because my wife is still working, but there is a reduction of her salary and we brought all the supporting documents with us today for verification process,” he added.
Sibat said they were at the EPF office since 6.30am and many people had been queuing outside the premises.
“We have many other commitments, our children are still in school, we need to pay loans, house rental and with this i-Sinar facility, it would help us,” said Sibat, who is also working at a construction site in Kidurong area.
Asked about the Covid-19 situation in the country, he said with the number of positive cases increasing, the people should be more disciplined.
“I believe the government should enforce the movement control order (MCO) again, particularly to stop the spread of the virus.
“As long as there is no restriction on inter-state or inter-district travel, the virus will keep on spreading in our community.
“It scares us even here in Bintulu, we have cases and just recently, this new cluster in a longhouse, we should be staying at home, unless we really have to go out for essentials,” said Sibat.
For Christopher Tedung, 48, from Mukah, he went to the EPF office as early as 6am just to apply for i-Sinar under Category 2.
“I hope my application will be approved because Covid-19 has affected our life economically, and with i-Sinar things might get better,” he said.
According to him, his salary was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic and he believed that i-Sinar could ease his burden.
Christopher has been working in Bintulu since he was single and is now staying here in a rented house with his wife and children who are still studying in secondary school.
Sapie Sahari, 45, was among those in the line and hoped that his application would be approved.
“I’m still working, but my salary has been affected and is not enough, and my three children are still in school,” he said.
Asked why he was not applying online, he claimed that they were told to go to the EPF office and bring the supporting documents for verification.
The i-Sinar under Category 2 includes members whose total income has been reduced by 30 per cent and above from March 1, 2020 onwards.
Supporting documents such as salary slip before and after reduction of income and employer’s notice of suspension or reduction of allowance and overtime claims need to be submitted to EPF to expedite the verification process.
For members who are not able to provide the supporting documents as mentioned, other relevant supporting documents such as bank statement or employer’s written acknowledgement will be given due consideration.
EPF members can submit their i-Sinar applications online via the official portal at https://isinar.kwsp.gov.my.