Rafizi: Populist measures will affect EPF investment capital
KUALA SELANGOR, March 21 — Economic Affairs Minister Rafizi Ramli today said that the Anwar government is against implementing populist policies as it would severely harm the investment capital of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
He said he is confident that Malaysians will realise that the government will not make decisions just to be popular.
“No populist move. We have gone through the administration phase and would not make a decision to get clicks on TikTok and Facebook and that's how we feel right now.
“So with the majority we have, with the mandate we have, I am sure within five years they will understand that the decision, even if there is great pressure from the people, it is for the good of the country and that effect will be appreciated by people from one month to the next,” he said in a news conference after launching the first vending machine under People’s Income Initiative (IPR) at UiTM Puncak Alam here.
He said that the government’s responsibility is limited to ensuring that the retirement fund manager operates properly on behalf of the depositors.
Rafizi said allowing more withdrawals would not only reduce the already strained investment capital but will also limit the ability to buy stocks which will result in smaller dividends for the contributors.
“So EPF needs to handle and manage 2023 and maybe 2024 in this very volatile market around the world the smaller the fund size, the less flexibility you have.
“Any kind of huge withdrawal will radically and drastically reduce its fund size, obviously will limit its option, so in that perspective, the government's position is if we are going through this tough market condition in 2023/2024, we need to have the fund that equals to offer the resilience and robust so that we can protect the majority of EPF depositors who are basically small depositors,” he added.
Last Sunday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that further EPF withdrawals will affect the country’s fiscal situation and decrease dividends.
He said there were other ways to help the people besides allowing EPF withdrawals.
The Opposition had continuously brought up the matter because there were no other issues.
Anwar said EPF was supposed to be a fund for people once they retire and have no source of income.
Previously, EPF revealed that two million members aged between 40 and 54 have less than RM10,000 in their savings in their accounts.