Having led the charge for the EPF to allow members to withdraw funds to help tide them over during the pandemic, Umno Youth chief Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki is now striking a cautionary note as well, saying that balancing current and old-age needs is critical.
“While the people have demanded for the i-Citra one-off payment of RM10,000, Umno Youth admits that the EPF is an important old-age saving for the survival of the people in the future.
“Even in discussions with the EPF CEO on Sept 21, we were shown data showing that 46 percent of 55-year-old contributors only have savings of less than RM10,000 and the average citizen can only survive for three years after retirement on average with the amount of EPF savings they have,” said Asyraf (above) in a statement on Facebook.
“My counter-argument in the meeting to defend the rationale why the people demand a minimum i-Citra of RM10,000 on a one-off basis was as follows:
“The emergency situation of the pandemic season requires various urgent approaches, especially to ensure there is a safety net for the people.
“Millions of people lost their source of income due to the pandemic, whether through job loss, reduced business or others, and this affected the people’s ability to spend as well as resulting in cash flow in the economy being severely affected,” he said.
He added that people were desperate to pay monthly commitments (house rent, car instalments, utility bills, credit cards etc.), at the same time struggling to meet daily needs like putting food on the table.
“Government assistance such as BPN was previously very limited and only focused on B40, causing many to still fall into desperation, especially among the M40.
“Therefore, for the sake of survival now, allowing the withdrawal of contributions from EPF will definitely bring relief to those who are desperate,” he said.
However, he stressed that the limited EPF withdrawals through i-Sinar, i-Lestari and i-Citra are only short-term solutions for the people so they do not run out of cash on hand and to settle outstanding commitments during this pandemic.
He now wants long-term measures to prevent more people from dipping into their old-age savings and suggested that mega projects with a multiplier effect on the economy to create job opportunities for youths was one way to go.
“If this is successful, the rakyat will no longer have to depend on their old-age savings in the EPF,” he said.
As of March this year, RM52.48 billion was approved for withdrawal under the i-Sinar scheme.