EPF records RM18.1b i-Lestari withdrawal to date
The EPF ensured that employers were able to sustain their costs and continue to retain their employees by offering the Employer Covid-19 Assistance Programme, specifically targeted at small and medium enterprises. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 — The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said to date, a total of RM18.1 billion has been withdrawn by 5.16 million members under the i-Lestari facility, which was among the immediate measures undertaken by the fund amid the challenging situation in 2020 due to the pandemic.

It stepped in to help members and employers cope with cash flow issues following the movement control order from March 18 to May 12, 2020 when most economic sectors were closed.

“The EPF was one of the first pension funds in the world to provide assistance to its members during the pandemic, by rolling out the hassle-free i-Lestari Account 2 Withdrawal Scheme to provide members with some measures of financial relief,” its Chairman, Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said in a statement on Saturday.

Other measures included allowing members to lower their mandatory statutory contribution to EPF savings to 7.0 per cent from 11 per cent, effective April 2020 to December 2020.

The EPF also ensured that employers were able to sustain their costs and continue to retain their employees by offering the Employer Covid-19 Assistance Programme (e-CAP), specifically targeted at small and medium enterprises (SMEs). e-CAP allows eligible SMEs flexibility to choose to apply for a deferment and restructuring of the employer’s share of EPF contributions, which benefited 13,090 employers with a cumulative value of RM84.95 million.

The programme was introduced to assist SMEs to manage their cash flow, as well as help them in fulfilling their obligations of paying for their portion of EPF contributions, he said.

“To ensure the safety of our employees and members, the EPF was proactive in quickly adapting to the new reality of ‘low touch, high distance’ service through the introduction of Janji Temu Online (JTO).

“Through JTO, the EPF ensured that social distancing measures and SOPs were strictly observed while the volume of visitors were reduced at physical branches,” he added.

The fund’s membership base grew by 2.0 per cent to 14.89 million, while employers registered with the EPF stood at 534,398. It takes RM8.25 billion to pay out every 1.0 per cent dividend for Simpanan Konvensional and RM972 million for every one per cent dividend for Simpanan Shariah in 2020. — Bernama