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23 April 2015

DROP PLAN TO RAISE WITHDRAWAL AGE, CUEPACS TELLS EPF

The Rakyat Post
22/4/2015





Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) president Datuk Azih Muda says the ongoing debate on the issue has created fear among Employee Provident Fund (EPF) members, both in the public and private sectors, along with those about to retire this year



KUALA LUMPUR, April 22, 2015:
The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) has demanded the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to stop its ongoing plans to extend the withdrawal age from 55 to 60.
Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda said the ongoing debate on the issue had created fear among EPF members, both in the public and private sectors, and those about to retire this year. They do not welcome the plan.
“Cuepacs maintains its stand of not supporting EPF’s plan to increase the age limit for full EPF withdrawals.
“The truth is that the current system is already good enough for EPF members and no issues have ever surfaced.
“Why must EPF bring up this issue with its ongoing research on the matter?
“Instead of discussing age withdrawal limits, it is better for EPF to discuss an increase in dividends,” he told reporters at a press conference in Wisma Cuepacs, Jalan Gajah, off Jalan Yew, here today.
Azih said should EPF contributors be made to choose between full EPF withdrawal at 55 or 60, the decision would be mixed due to potential changes in the future.
“Any decision made now will not be the same as in the future. We might agree to extend the withdrawal age this year, only to make a U-turn on it within the next few years.”
Additionally, he also suggested that a consultative council be established among employees, workers union representatives, employers and EPF to discuss the matter seriously.
“Cuepacs does not agree with the proposal because at the age of 50, EPF contributors also need money to renovate their houses, perform the haj, support their children’s education as well as attend to numerous other commitments.
“Don’t tell me that only at 60 they can withdraw their savings.”
Azih said that EPF need not burden the government further with the proposals and research as the government has other problems to be resolved.
“We’ve received numerous complaints and workers have also grumbled over the matter.
“As such, there should be no drastic measures involved. EPF’s ongoing research is not needed. Consult others first before making a decision.
“In this country, there are 1.6 million government servants, all of whom save their earnings with the EPF. Only 10% choose to remain with EPF while the rest opt for the pensioner’s scheme.”
Azih’s comments came after the EPF on Wednesday forwarded two proposals to its members with regard to their withdrawals.
Its CEO, Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, said the first proposal was to extend the withdrawal age from 55 to 60 in stages over 15 years.The withdrawal age would increase by a year every three years.
He said for contributors who were 55 in 2016 to 2018, the age limit for withdrawals remained at 55 and would rise to 56 in the beginning of 2019. By 2031, the withdrawal age would be set at 60.
For the second proposal, withdrawals are maintained at the age of 55 for existing savings and the introduction of withdrawals at 60 for those who continue to work and contribute after the age of 55.
The proposal is to address issues related to retirement savings among contributors in the long run.
Based on EPF’s statistics, 78% of active EPF contributors aged 54 do not achieve basic savings of RM196,800 and 68% of contributors of the same age have savings of less than RM50,000.
Information on the suggestions was made available to the public on the myEPF web portal (www.kwsp.gov.my) starting yesterday.
EPF emphasised that no decision had been made and encouraged contributors to participate in the consultation process.

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