Putrajaya mulls increasing second EPF account withdrawal rate for prospective Haj pilgrims
KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — The government is looking into possibly increasing the withdrawal rate for the second account of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) that was previously set at RM3,000 for those wishing to perform the Haj.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Religious Affairs) Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar said that Lembaga Tabung Haji (TH) and the EPF will be meeting for in-depth discussions on the matter.
“I think this is a good suggestion. God willing, I will discuss it with TH.
“I will ask TH to organise and hold further discussions with the EPF to look into the issues raised by Jerantut earlier,” he told Parliament during Ministers’ Question Time (MQT) today.
The minister was responding to a question from Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) Jerantut MP Khairil Nizam Khirudin on whether the government has any plans to increase the retirement fund’s second account withdrawal rate to address the soaring cost of the Haj pilgrimage.
Mohd Na’im further said that TH has sealed a long-term agreement for basic services as a strategic measure to curb the soaring cost for the Haj pilgrimage and Umrah.
“Among the services involved are flights, accommodation in Mecca and Medina as well as meals for pilgrims.
“TH will continue to practise prudent spending in order to safeguard the welfare of all Malaysian pilgrims with reasonable operating costs,” he added.
For Umrah, he said that the government is aware of the ballooning price of flight tickets and accommodation, but that such matters are under the purview of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (Motac).
“Motac always takes the initiative to hold discussions with relevant parties to identify the issues raised,” he added.
Yesterday, it was reported that the EPF is ready to greenlight additional withdrawals to fund Malaysian Muslims wishing to perform the Haj.
EPF Strategy Chief Nurhisham Hussein said that RM12 million has been withdrawn by 4,337 contributors since the retirement fund’s withdrawal scheme for the Haj was first introduced in 2013.