Majority Malaysians want age 55 Employment Provident Fund withdrawal

EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan.

PETALING JAYA - Most of the nearly 97,000 Employees Provident Fund contributors who took part in the pension fund survey the full withdrawal age to stay at 55, along with other initiatives.

They voiced their preference on the pension fund's proposals to boost savings in its two-week consultation exercise, which ended on Tuesday.

"The results of the consultation will be analysed and presented to the EPF board for further elaboration and deliberation on the next course of action for improvement," EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said in a statement.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, on April 23, announced that EPF contributors would keep their right to withdraw their savings at the age of 55, after 50,000 responses were received 48 hours into the start of the survey.

Shahril said EPF has received 96,448 responses at the close of the survey.

"We are delighted that the consultation received overwhelming response from our members. They have taken this opportunity to interact with us and provide constructive feedback," he said.

Shahril said the proposals involved major policy changes and it was important for EPF to engage members before any decision was made.

"We have also taken the opportunity to consult with other stakeholders, including the Malaysian Trades Union Congress, the Malaysian Employers Federation, the Federation of Malaysian Manu­facturers and political parties," he said.

The proposal to increase the full withdrawal age from 55 to 60 came with two options.

The first was to increase the minimum age for full withdrawal from 55 to 60 in stages, over a 15-year period starting next year until 2031.

The second would allow for full withdrawal at the age of 55, but all subsequent contributions would be locked in the fund until the member retires at 60.

Among other proposals were the move to align minimum contributions with the minimum wage legislation.

This would make it compulsory for employers with workers on a minimum wage of RM900 (S$334) a month in the peninsula and RM800 in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan to calculate their share of EPF contributions based not just on basic salary but on allowances as well.

Shahril assured members that key findings of the survey would be made public.

"Due to the success of this consultation and the massive rate of involvement by members, we are looking forward to utilising the consultation platform to actively engage with members for any other initiatives concerning their retirement well-being," he said.