KUALA LUMPUR— Pakatan Harapan (PH) has suggested for Putrajaya to instead disburse additional aid of RM1,000 twice in March and April to recipients of the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) financial aid.
“Those who are allowed to withdraw their own EPF savings should be aware that this is not an aid but is taken from their own future savings,” the pact said in a statement.
The pact also said it welcomes the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s decision to disburse aid to state governments regardless of partisan lines.
It said the Selangor and Johor state governments have already allocated RM30,000 and RM20,000 respectively to their state assemblymen to mitigate the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We suggest for the federal government to allocate funds for Parliamentary seats regardless of parties so the people can benefit from the democratically-elected MPs,” it added.
The PN government has previously snubbed PH-led states during a meeting to discuss its response to Covid-19.
Several PH MPs have also claimed that their allocations have been frozen since the new government took over.
Muhyiddin’s announcement follows after Malaysia registered its 11th Covid-19 death today with 1,306 Covid-19 cases reported to date.
Malaysia also entered the sixth day of the movement control order (MCO) currently enforced nationwide that will last until March 31.
Muhyiddin also said he hoped this initiative and the government’s move to reduce the statutory contribution rate for employees by four per cent (from 11 per cent to seven per cent) will put more money in workers’ pockets to purchase their daily necessities.
The reduced rate of contribution set to take effect on April 1, as announced by the previous Pakatan Harapan government, was intended to cushion the blow from the economic fallout following the global Covid-19 outbreak. – MALAY MAIL
MTUC against using EPF savings to cushion Covid-19 impact
PUTRAJAYA should use its reserves to help people mitigate the economic cost of Covid-19 instead of allowing Employees Provident Fund contributors withdraw their savings, said the Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC).
The move, announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin earlier today, should be scrapped, the group said in a statement.
“The MTUC stand is simple in the current situation – do not touch the workers’ EPF, cut their salaries or retrench them because the social repercussions are indeed serious.
“We urge the government to rethink this plan and scrap it,” MTUC said.
The government’s move comes as businesses are affected by the Covid-19 outbreak and many are unable to work due to the movement-control order (MCO).
But MTUC said Putrajaya’s move will result in contributors’ loss of annual and compounded dividends in the long-term from funds that are meant for workers’ retirement.
“The government should have the moral courage to dig into its reserves and pump the money directly into the pockets of workers without having to compromise their old age savings.
“Most members use their account two to reduce their housing loan repayment to save on their interests. Others also depend on this account for their tertiary education and medical needs,” MTUC said.
The group added that the move is akin to using workers’ savings to pump in RM50 billion into the economy for the rest of the year.
“This is not a morally right thing to do. It is a case of having to ‘rob’ from one’s own savings, arising from the failure of the government to protect its people.”
MTUC said it has proposed to the Finance Ministry this morning that Putrajaya should use its reserve funds to provide interest-free loans of at least RM5,000 each to needy families during the Covid-19 crisis.
Repayments can be through salary deductions once the situation remains to normal, the congress added.
It also disagreed with the move to allow EPF subscribers to reduce their monthly contributions by 4% starting next month, a plan announced before the Covid-19 movement control order.
MTUC said this will have an adverse effect on workers’ savings. THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT
MALAY MAIL / THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT