PETALING JAYA: An Umno leader has suggested that the government come up with a social pension scheme following reports that 5.8 million of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors had less than RM10,000 left in their accounts.
Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan said short-term and long-term measures were called for.
He proposed a social pension scheme to secure the people’s finances in the future. Retirees whose incomes were below a certain level could be given monthly cash payments from the government, on top of the EPF withdrawals they can make.
Shahril said EPF contributors’ accounts were already diminishing, especially after the i-Lestari, i-Sinar and i-Citra withdrawal schemes, while there were segments of workers who are not covered by the retirement fund.
“I do not deny the possibility that a rationalisation of the government’s subsidies along with a change in tax regime may need to be considered to make this ‘tax-funded social pension scheme’ come true.
“The government may also have the option after this to make (EPF) contributions, aside from contributions from employers and employees — though not at a 1:1 ratio nor forever,” he said.
Shahril also said the only short-term measure that could strengthen the people’s financial position was “jobs, jobs, jobs”.
Shahril who is also the Umno Youth vice-chief said the loan moratorium, EPF withdrawal schemes and cash handouts from the government will do little to help Malaysians; he likened the aid schemes to a “plaster” that does not treat a wound properly.
“When people have employment, as a whole, we are producing output for the economy on the supply side and acquiring income on the demand side. When the people can regain a monthly income, especially at a proper rate, only then are we on the road to recovery,” he said.