Najib, Zahid creating negative perceptions over EPF withdrawals

LETTERS: These past few days, the announcement on the withdrawals of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) to allow contributors to cope with difficult times has exposed much negative perception.

A litany of misconceptions has been created against EPF and indirectly, the Perikatan Nasional-led government, that EPF had set difficult terms and conditions for members and that it is making it complicated for them to make withdrawals from Account 1.

It is beyond comprehension how anyone would go all out to pass these negativities among the people whose lives and livelihoods have been badly hit by the pandemic.

When fed with negativities, it is expected that only criticism will follow and of course, EPF members and the people, will become angry, agitated and frustrated.

Probably those who have accused EPF of setting difficult terms and conditions for the withdrawals could show proof how difficult the applications are. Is it true that applying online, with members under Category 1 only having to make known their MyKad numbers without any supporting documents needed, that difficult to meet?

Under Category 1, members who have not contributed to the EPF for at least two consecutive months on application and members who are still working but have suffered a reduction of their base salary by 30 per cent and above from March 2020 onwards are eligible to apply.

Approval is automatic and members only need to apply online via its beginning Dec 21. Under Category 2, members whose total income has been reduced by 30 per cent and above (total income including base salary and other benefits such as allowances and overtime) from March 1, 2020 onwards are also eligible to apply.

The only supporting documents required are their salary slip after reduction of income and employer's notice of suspension or reduction of allowances or overtime claims. Is that too tough to meet? These are basic requirements.

And to make it easier for staff to apply, the statutory pension fund said those who are unable to provide those supporting documents could provide other relevant documents such as bank statements or employer's written acknowledgement.

EPF has also made it known that members who want to apply at the counter could do so at the nearest EPF branch.

So, what's the fuss about the so-called difficult terms and conditions? Nothing. It is just that people like Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi who are making it sound complicated when it is not.

Those basic criteria set by the EPF is so easy to meet. The negative perceptions they, and their Umno colleagues, tried to create out of this withdrawal is meant to make themselves look like heroes.

Whatever it is, it is best that the duo focus on their cases which are still pending in court.

Remy Mohd Saiful


The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the New Straits Times

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