KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF), expressing concern about the members’ retirement security due to the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, will focus to help them restore and rebuild their retirement savings to ensure that they are able to secure a dignified retirement.
EPF chief executive officer Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan is very concerned about the retirement security of the people, who were impacted by the pandemic and were unable to meet the basic savings threshold.
For the remaining half of the year, he highlighted that the country’s recovery prospects hinged on how the Covid-19 situation plays out in the near term.
“While we are confident that the government’s various stimulus packages and initiatives will keep business sentiment strong and boost domestic demand, we are very concerned about the retirement security of the people, especially with 46% of EPF members below the age of 55 having less than RM10,000 in their account,” he said.
Amir Hamzah pointed out the pandemic has led to a significant drop in the percentage of members meeting the basic savings threshold (RM240,000 at age 55) from 36% to 27%, pursuant to the Covid-19-related withdrawals to supplement their income during the crisis.
“The pandemic has also triggered a dramatic rise in the number of gig workers in the country, and while that has helped workers survive, many of these workers are falling back on their retirement security due to the irregular and unstable income.
“Additionally, they are facing vulnerablities in terms of employees’ benefits and coverage on social protection,” he said.
Amir Hamzah highlighted there will be far-reaching repercussions not only on their future well-being, but also on the government, who will have to carry that financial burden.
“The key element of the EPF’s strategy going forward is to get the gig workers, as well as those in the informal sectors, into the EPF Scheme so they can start to save as early as possible and plan for their retirement,” he said.
He also said a coordinated solution for the longer term is needed to ensure better social protection for all Malaysians.
He said the EPF will remain focused on its strategic asset allocation and continue to be cognisant of the risk profiles of the markets as they develop so the retirement fund is able to shift along the way.
“While we are doing that, our fundamental purpose of providing returns and protection for our members’ future well-being will continue to be preserved,” he said.