If you can’t help rakyat, allow EPF withdrawals, Najib tells govt

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak is once again pushing for the i-Sinar and i-Lestari withdrawal facilities in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to be continued during the lockdown, saying people are desperately in need of cash in hand.

Najib said the withdrawal facilities did not have such a huge impact on EPF’s investments and returns, citing its good performance at the tail-end of last year and the first quarter of 2021.

He added that if the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government was not capable of increasing its revenue and dishing out aid to the people, it should not deny them their right to withdraw their own savings from their EPF accounts.

“Listen to the voices of those who are unable to cope any more and can only depend on their own money in EPF because of the various extensions to the movement control order (MCO),” he said in a Facebook post today.

To minimise the effects on the pension fund, Najib said Bank Negara Malaysia could help EPF by purchasing its bonds, which the central bank can then keep or sell to a third party.

“Or, it can be sold back to EPF in stages because EPF’s total assets increase each month when employers and employees make their monthly contributions.

“We’re not telling EPF to sell off their stocks or properties at a cheap price. Just sell a portion of government bonds temporarily to pay those who want to withdraw money from their EPF accounts during this crisis.”

EPF recorded a gross investment income of RM19.29 billion during the first quarter of 2021 and RM17.33 billion in the third quarter of 2020.

Its CEO, Amir Hamzah Azizan, recently said RM57.97 billion had been approved for i-Sinar withdrawals from its members’ Account 1, with RM50.93 billion having already been paid out. – FREE MALAYSIA TODAY

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