No more EPF withdrawals, RM145bil taken out since 2020, says Deputy Finance Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of RM145bil was withdrawn from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) by 8.1 million members during the Covid-19 pandemic, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan.

“That is why the government has no plans to allow any more EPF withdrawals in the near future,” said Ahmad at a press conference in Parliament on Thursday (Feb 16).

The figure consists of RM20.8bil by 5.3 million members under the i-Lestari programme, RM58.7bil by 6.6 million members under i-Sinar, RM21.4bil by 5.2 million members under i-Citra and RM44.6bil by 6.6 million members during an EPF special withdrawal programme last year.

Ahmad said the median savings in EPF accounts for all Malaysians stood at RM8,100 as of last year, which was a decrease of 50 percent from RM16,600 in 2019.

Some 6.7 million members or 51.5 percent of 13.1 million EPF members, have savings of less than RM10,000.

In 2020, there were 4.7 million members with less than RM10,000 savings.

“B40 and M40 members are the most affected, causing a widening gap with the T20 group,” said Ahmad.

Ahmad also said savings gap between races are widening, as the savings of bumiputra under 55-years-old stood at RM4,900, which is three times lesser compared to the RM15,500 median savings in April 2020.

“The decrease in median savings between Malays was the highest, which is RM16,900 in April 2020 to RM5,500 in 2022,” said Ahmad.

Ahmad said there were various proposals on raising the voluntary contributions to EPF, which is currently set at RM60,000 a year.

“Further announcements on that will be announced when Budget 2023 is tabled on Feb 24,” added Ahmad.

On Feb 15, Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin urged the government to consider giving a one-off targeted EPF withdrawals to those who are financially strapped.