Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) plans to launch a scheme next year allowing husbands to transfer 2% of contributions to their wives’ accounts, and another scheme that will enable members to tap into their retirement savings to purchase life and critical illness insurance.
EPF Chairman Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said at a conference on November 23, that the pension fund is also exploring mandating legal coverage to non-agriculture informal sector workers.
He warned that the majority of members of Malaysia’s largest pension fund are at risk of falling into old age poverty after being allowed to temporarily withdraw from their retirement accounts to deal with financial hardship caused by Covid-19.
As of end-October, he said members had pulled out 101.1 billion ringgit (US$23.99 billion) through the three pandemic-related withdrawal programmes.
According to Ahmad Badri, 48% of members aged 55 and below have “critically low EPF savings”.
“To address adequacy of savings and retirement income, we need far-reaching solutions covering an effective safety net programme, comprehensive life-cycle social protection systems, robust labour market and wage policies, sustainable economic growth, reskilling and upskilling of labour force, as well as policies to encourage automation and digitalisation to help increase productivity,” he said.
The EPF had 989.14 billion ringgit of assets under management as of end-June, and more than 14 million members.