Experts: EPF withdrawal, loan moratorium under Pemulih a huge help for M40 group

(Bernama) – The RM150 billion National People’s Well-Being and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih) is seen to be a boon for many, especially for the M40 income group.

Among other things, the government’s latest economic stimulus package entails the continuation of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal facilities and loan moratorium, which means a lot for those with higher monthly commitments.

Dean of Universiti Utara Malaysia’s School of Economics, Finance and Banking, Professor Dr Russayani Ismail said although it would impact the savings of EPF members in the long run, at this point of time, the people’s livelihood is what matters most.

“i-Citra and the automatic loan moratorium will definitely be a big help, especially for the M40 income group that is usually left out from receiving aids, unlike the B40 group.

“As the moratorium is no longer a targeted one and anyone can apply for it, the six months moratorium will be of great significance, especially for micro and small entrepreneurs that may have more financial commitments,” she told Bernama.

Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid said the announcement by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyddin Yassin clearly shows that the government is willing to go the extra mile in providing financial assistance to all Malaysians.

“All related government agencies have been roped in to provide assistance, so now it’s a question of how soon the country would transition to the next phase in respect to the National Recovery Plan.

“This is extremely critical as it will determine the trajectory of the reopening of the economy,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Bank Pembangunan Malaysia Bhd believes that measures introduced under Pemulih could be executed quickly to provide economic relief.

“The faster re-opening of non-essential economic sectors ― supported by the government’s plan to increase the budget allocation for vaccine purchases with more vaccination centres and various modes of inoculation programmes ― will accelerate domestic economic activities further,” it said.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that under the EPF’s i-Citra facility, 12.6 million EPF members will be able to withdraw up to RM5,000 with a fixed payment rate of RM1,000 a month for five months, subject to the balance in their respective accounts.

EPF said members can begin applying for the facility via the i-Citra online portal at starting July 15, 2021, with the first payment expected to be credited in their bank accounts in August 2021.

Meanwhile, individuals and micro-entrepreneurs may apply for the six-month loan moratorium starting July 7, 2021.