PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement that the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal age will remain at 55 has been lauded by the people.
Many of those interviewed by The Star felt that it was a good decision not to make any changes to the current policy, allowing people to take out their money from EPF when they reach 55.
Clerk Pauline Yong, 48, said the status quo would not derail her original plans to withdraw the money for her daughter’s education.
“By the time I reach 55, my daughter will be 23 and would need money to further her studies, probably a Masters programme.
“Both mine and my husband’s savings would be used for her education and there will still be some money left for us,” she said.
The announcement was made by Najib during the Invest Malaysia 2015 event in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In his speech, he said he was aware of the concerns of the public about changes to EPF withdrawals and said the Government would listen to the views of the rakyat.
He said a majority of EPF members want their right to use the retirement fund.
Sharing Yong’s sentiment was PK Chee, 39, who also felt that the retirement fund could be used for her children’s education expenses.
“My eldest daughter is eight while my son is about two-years-old.
“Both will need the money to further their studies,” she said.
While she agreed that the age to withdraw the money should not be raised to 60, the administrative assistant said that the Government could set other policies to help retirees.
“Perhaps the Government could set some new rules, such as having working children contribute part of their EPF to their parents.
“I have read about some old folks being abandoned by their children after they start working and I really think there should be some policies to protect retirees,” she said.
Bank officer Michael Chang, 34, said anyone aged 55 and above would have sufficient wisdom and experience to handle their own money.
“The five-year period makes a difference if one wants to start his or her own business or investment.
“The money could also be used by a retiree for his medical expenses,” he said.
Lauding the announcement, shopkeeper Fairus Yusop said many people had plans, such as to buy a house, settle loans, fund children’s education or even start a business with their EPF savings.
“The money would come in handy at the age of 55 and 60 is a bit too long to wait in your old age, even if it is just five years more,” she said.
A 28-year-old civil servant, who declined to be named, said she was glad that the Government had decided to retain the minimum withdrawal age at 55.
“Another five years of savings would not make much difference.
“But to be able to take out our money at 55 makes a lot of difference to those like myself who have a use for it.
“”These days, we can’t depend on our salaries alone, which is why I am banking on my EPF savings to start up a business,” she said.
Teacher Steven Yap said it was a wise decision by the Prime Minister as not many people live past 55.
“We are living in a time where younger people are getting more prone to diabetes and heart diseases,” he said.
A perfect example is kidney transplant patient Michelle Ho, who being sick and single, would like to enjoy the fruits of her hard earned labour before her time was up.
“I am living on borrowed time. The side effects of the drugs I am taking will ultimately cut short my lifespan.
“I have only a few years more until 55. The money will be used to settle the outstanding loans that I have.
“And definitely, whatever money I have left, I would want to enjoy the rest of my time on this earth travelling and doing things that I like,” she said.
However, manager Jeffrey Tan thinks that delaying the full withdrawal age until 60 would be beneficial to the lower income group.
“I think it is good that some control is exercised on their savings so that they do not end up spending everything at one go.
“I know some people might feel excited about withdrawing hundreds of thousands at once because they have not gained so much money all at once before.
“They might spend lavishly in the beginning, forgetting what the money is actually for, and only start worrying when their savings are about to finish,” he said.