PETALING JAYA: The nation’s biggest retirement fund manager has assured its contributors that their money will not be used for government bailouts.
Employees Provident Fund deputy chief executive officer (strategy division) Tunku Alizakri Raja Muhammad Alias (pic) said EPF’s policies were tight to ensure that investments benefit members.
He allayed fears that the proposal to raise the age for full withdrawal from 55 to 60 was because EPF funds were being mismanaged.
Tunku Alizakri said the interest of members was of paramount importance to EPF and sceptics only needed to look at its annual reports.
“EPF is growing at 10% annually both from contributions and investments. It will not go bankrupt,” said he said.
He added that EPF had continuously received a clean bill of health from the Auditor-General while the Public Accounts Committee, whose members were parliamentarians from all major political parties, had described EPF as world class.
“We are one of the most transparent organisations and among our 17 board members are independent experts,” he said.
Tunku Alizakri said EPF had engaged with all stakeholders, including unions, even before the start of the two-week survey to obtain feedback from contributors.
“I urge members to take the survey to let us know which option they prefer,” he said.
Federation of Malaysian Consumer Associations secretary-general Datuk Paul Selvaraj said both EPF and the Government must address public fears before pressing ahead with its proposals.
The negative public perception was because the proposals had come in the wake of Goods and Services Tax (GST) and issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), said Selvaraj.
“It’s a questions of trust. EPF needs to get the public to buy in to the move,” he said.
Selvaraj said ultimately EPF money belonged to the members and they should be given the option on whether to make withdrawals at 55 or 60.
Malaysian Trades Union Congress supported the proposal to compel employers of minimum wage workers to calculate their share of EPF contribution not just on basic salary but on allowances as well.
Its secretary-general N. Gopal Krishnan said although the minimum wage was RM900 in peninsular Malaysia and RM800 in Sabah and Sarawak, the basic salaries (minus allowances) for some could be as low as RM600.
He said the issue underscored the fact that wages in Malaysia were low and full withdrawals should be kept at 55.
“The majority of workers are concerned with putting food on the table today and not on retirement,” he said.
Gopal Krishnan said the issue of low wages needed to be addressed by the Government.
“We also don’t agree with EPF’s online survey because its findings may not be representative of the views of the majority of contributors,” he said.