The Rakyat post
There was mixed reaction to the proposal by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to extend the withdrawal age from 55 to 60 in stages over 15 years.
Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda has urged that the age for EPF withdrawals to stay at 55.
He said Malaysians were not ready for a change.
“Not many Malaysians can wait until 60 to withdraw their savings from EPF.
“Even more so for employees in the private sectors who are stressed out. They are retiring way before 60,” he said when contacted by The Rakyat Post.
He suggested that EPF set up a special committee consisting of non-board members to deliberate on the matter.
“We are also interested in discussing with them and being a part of this committee so that we can decide what is best for most Malaysians.”
He said it was vital that EPF does not rush this.
“We ask why EPF wants it to be extended to 60 so badly? What is their reasoning?
“If they say that contributors do not have enough money, that is because wages are low and not because of the age they retire.”
Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) deputy president Abdullah Sani Abdul Halim also disagreed with the suggestion to raise the age for withdrawals as the current system was the best.
“If someone retires at 55, how long must he wait before he can withdraw his own savings given that he might have plans to build a house and so on?
“If life expectancy is the reason, then people can even die at 40. So I do not understand why EPF can suggest something so ridiculous.
“If they go along with this suggestion, we will picket and fight till the end to make sure it does not happen,” he told The Rakyat Post.
However, Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan has agreed with the first proposal issued by EPF today with regard to their withdrawals.
Speaking to The Rakyat Post, Shamsuddin said the suggestion mooted by EPF to extend the withdrawal age from 55 to 60 in stages over 15 years was too long a period for a transition.
“While MEF fully supports the move as it is time that members get more out of their savings, I believe that the move should be done faster in terms of years.”
Shamsuddin also said the move to increase the withdrawal age from 55 to 60 should have been done a long time ago when the retirement age was increased from 55 to 60 several years ago.
“It is about time retirees got more and are better assured than having to go through life with less money.”
When asked about EPF’s second proposal, whereby withdrawals are maintained at the age of 55 for existing savings and the introduction of withdrawals at 60 years for those who continue to work and contribute after the age of 55, Shamsuddin said that the impact on retirees would be only be “mild” in comparison.
“The people may feel otherwise, but in the end it will still impact their savings after retirement.
“They will definitely be short of cash by the time they reached 60 or even less if cost of living increases in the future.”
EPF CEO Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan told a press conference yesterday: “At the age of 56, their contributions will be incorporated into the new EPF accounts and they can only withdraw at the age of 60,”