As one of the relief initiatives to help the people weather the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the government announced that Malaysians can withdraw funds from their Employee Provident Fund (EPF) accounts starting 1 April 2020.
The move, as controversial as it may be, aims to free up short term cash for contributors as well as on a macro scale, to stimulate the economy that’s under threat by the pandemic.
Under the “i-Lestari Withdrawal” scheme, eligible EPF members can withdraw up to MYR500 per month from Account 2 for a period of 12 months starting from 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2021. This is open to all members aged below 55 years old.
The scheme will benefit around 12 million EPF members, translating to approximately MYR40 billion worth of withdrawals.
How does i-Lestari work?
As mentioned, withdrawals can only be made from Account 2, and the amount you can withdraw depends on the balance of the account.
The number of monthly withdrawals you are entitled to is counted from the date of the receipt of the approved application for withdrawal, until the end of the period i.e. 31 March 2021.
Withdrawals will be credited into your bank account on a monthly basis and will be recurring for the subsequent months.
For example, if your application is approved in September 2020, then the number of withdrawals you are entitled to is seven months.
You can submit your applications for i-Lestari Withdrawal starting 1 April 2020 until 31 March 2021.
How much can I withdraw?
EPF says that permitted amount under the scheme ranges from MYR50 to a maximum of MYR500 per month. Again, this is subject to your Account 2 balance at the time of the withdrawal payment.
If the total amount in Account 2 is less than the amount you’ve applied for, then the amount of the withdrawal for the month will be whatever the remaining amount is.
When will payment be credited?
For withdrawal applications received in April 2020, payment will be credited in May 2020. For applications after April 2020, withdrawal payment will be made from the date the withdrawal application is received by the EPF.
Note that the amount applied and approved for is fixed and cannot be changed.
How to apply
There are several ways to apply. Complete the application form to the EPF beginning 1 April 2020 via:
- Online (e-Pengeluaran via Member’s i-Akaun)
- Email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or
- By snail mail to:
Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja, Karung Berkunci No 220, Jalan Sultan 46720, Petaling Jaya with the note (Attention to: i-Lestari) written on the front of the envelope
For faster approval, EPF recommends you to submit your applications online via e-Pengeluaran. For more, read the official FAQ.
Earlier this month, the Government had also announced the optional reduction of employee contribution rate for EPF from 11 percent to 7 percent. This followed the Economy Stimulus Package designed to ensure the economic risks associated with the coronavirus pandemic is effectively addressed and to ensure the nation’s economy remains on strong foundations.
On Friday, the prime minister announced the follow-up Economy Stimulus Package, a MYR250 billion people-centric package continues to focus on cushioning the impact of COVID-19.
Header image: EPF
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