Think Of The People Not Investments Najib Tells Epf Over Account 1 Withdrawals
Ex-PM Najib Razak disagrees with EPF CEO Tunku Alizakri Alias’ view that allowing more members to withdraw would hurt the fund’s investments.PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak does not agree with the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) concerns that expanding the scope of their i-Sinar facility would affect their investments.
Referring to EPF chief executive officer Tunku Alizakri Alias’ rationale on why the provident fund was not allowing more members to be eligible to withdraw money from their Account 1 savings, Najib said the focus should be on the people, not investments.
“I do not agree with the view expressed by the EPF CEO, that if we allow a one-off withdrawal of RM10,000 from Account 1, investment opportunities for EPF will be affected.
“These are desperate times, the situation is critical. This is a matter of the people’s livelihood and it is no longer a matter of investment,” he said in a Sinar Harian live programme discussing the 2021 budget this evening.
Najib, who is also the former finance minister, said he had made this proposal even before the tabling of the budget on Nov 6, adding that it will not affect the sustainability of the retirement fund.
However, he is confident finance minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz would understand the rakyat’s struggles at this time with the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I am not satisfied but I would like to give more time to the government and the finance minister to look into the matter. I think the finance minister understands the rakyat’s demands, but the EPF management still seems to be protecting their own interests.
“This is a demand from the rakyat. If I was the finance minister, I will give an ultimatum. Give them an instruction, and if he (Tunku Alizakri) does not comply, then he must step down,” he said.
He added that, in such dire situations, Bank Negara Malaysia can help EPF by purchasing their bonds.
“The central bank can then keep or sell the bonds to a third party.
“It is not as if this suggestion would bring negative consequences to EPF. This can be done, as I have explained before,” Najib said.
He added that allowing members to withdraw from their Account 1 may result in a capital injection for the country’s economy.
“Domestic demand will increase and the economic activity will speed up. This is not a populist demand but it is a question of the rakyat’s survival,” he said.
EPF previously announced that access to Account 1 savings under the i-Sinar facility would benefit two million members who have no income, lost their jobs, or had been forced to take unpaid leave.
Many parties have since criticised EPF for setting the tight criteria, among them Umno youth leader Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. - FMT
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