In a statement yesterday, EPF chief executive officer Tunku Alizakri Alias said the decision to allow withdrawals from the retirement fund was considered carefully after weighing the well-being of its millions of members and safeguarding their savings.
EPF stated that economists had agreed that the measure announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday to allow EPF members to withdraw up to RM500 each month for a year will help boost private consumption, thus cushioning the impact of the pandemic on the Malaysian economy.
“EPF members may apply for the i-Lestari Account 2 Withdrawal Scheme beginning April 1, 2020. They can expect their savings to be deposited into their bank accounts from May 1, 2020.
“i-Lestari will provide some relief to those financially affected during this period of concern and uncertainty. As a retirement fund, the EPF has to strike a balance between our mandate to safeguard our members’ retirement savings and caring for their well-being,” said Alizakri.
He also said that allowing for the withdrawal would require an amendment to the EPF Act 1991 under Section 54 (6).
“We are placing i-Lestari as our top priority for urgent rollout.
“We have a dedicated email for i-Lestari, firstname.lastname@example.org, where our members can send in their queries. These will then be collated and added to our list of FAQs on our website kwsp.gov.my,” said Alizakri, adding that there had been many fake news on the withdrawals.
“It is especially important to practise discretion when reading the news and social media.
“There are a lot of scammers and rumours going around, especially through WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Please know that EPF only communicates to the public via our website and our official social media channels,” said Alizakri.
Muhyiddin had stated that the withdrawal scheme during the economy downturn of the Covid-19 pandemic is expected to benefit more than 12 million EPF members, with a total withdrawal potential of about RM40bil.