Allow EPF Account One withdrawals


I HAD a heartwrenching conversation with a family member recently. She is in her early 30s, works a regular job and plans to tie the knot. She appreciates the financial assistance provided by the government via BSH (Bantuan Sara Hidup) during this pandemic.

However, due to some backdated payments and personal commitments involving a car and an overdue education loan, she is feeling a financial strain. This is perhaps a common scenario among many young working adults.

It is easy to rattle off a long list of advice on having good savings and cutting down on unnecessary expenses. Yet it cannot be denied that the cost of living has not reduced this year while many people have also had to deal with pay cuts. And I’m sure some younger employees did not have the foresight or ability to prepare for major setbacks.

It is reassuring that Malaysians are able to make withdrawals from Account Two of their savings in the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). Perhaps the government could consider allowing withdrawals from Account One as well, a one-time withdrawal for those still struggling to make ends meet.

We do realise that Account One is a high interest fixed savings account that is strictly released only upon retirement. However, considering the many woes of these current times, accessing it could help ease some of the people’s burden. Of course, such a withdrawal would have to be allowed only under stringent terms and conditions.

The pandemic has reminded us that life is painfully short. Yes, it is imperative that retirement savings remain secure. And we sincerely hope that we live long enough to enjoy those savings in our golden years and won’t succumb to a deadly virus.

However, some needs remain a daily burden. Allowing this one-time withdrawal would be a fair consideration in light of this unprecedented pandemic.

This would also stop people from having to go to the extreme lengths of freeloading off ageing parents or borrowing from unauthorised money lenders. What’s more, it could head off psychosocial issues like substance abuse and fraudulent activities arising from people looking for a quick fix to their financial problems.

PRISCILLA MANYMUTHU

Seri Kembangan, Selangor


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economy , Covid-19 , EPF , savings , letters

   

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