Mixed feelings over approval for EPF withdrawal

(The Star) – The announcement of the special Employees Provident Fund (EPF) withdrawal has brought mixed reaction, with older folk believing that saving for the future is better while many affected by the floods and pandemic say it comes at an opportune time.

Mohd Sukarno Ismail, 65, was left surprised by the announcement.

“I am not happy. I don’t plan on withdrawing and will be focused on saving my money for my family’s future,” the retired engineer said.

Phuang Leun Lok, 62, also felt the withdrawal would not benefit contributors, apart from those in the B40 group.

The retired teacher said the government should give cash aid or provide easy, interest-free loans instead through government banks or cooperatives to help the needy.

“Already three withdrawals have been allowed by EPF through the i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra schemes. So how much is left in their accounts now?” he asked.

The younger ones had a different opinion.

Kamsani Kamarudin, 41, said he had seen friends in distress due to the Covid-19 pandemic and flash floods in Klang Valley.

“After the pandemic hit, many lost their jobs, and some even lost their breadwinners and this affected their families badly. This is good news for the people, especially Muslims who will soon go into the fasting month of Ramadan and Hari Raya,” the businessman said.

Many were hoping to use the money to repair their vehicles and homes after the recent floods, to pay off debts and to see their children through school and college.

“Now, I can buy stuff for my house and repair my car that was under water in the floods in Betong,” Azuan Embong tweeted.

“I will have money now for my children’s education. Three of my children are going to boarding schools. This is good for the M40 too,” said Eira Dealova.

Mohd Nor Mohd Afandi, 52, agreed that the RM10,000 should, however, be withdrawn only by those who were desperately in need of money.

“The people should be given the freedom to decide how they want to spend money from their own savings.

“If the public spends the money within Malaysia, it will boost our economy,” the aircraft engineer added.