New Straits Times
5.16m people withdrew RM18.1b under i-Lestari
KUALA LUMPUR: A total of RM18.1 billion has been withdrawn by 5.16 million members under the iLestari facility, according to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
EPF was one of the first pension funds in the world to provide assistance to its members during the pandemic, by rolling out the hassle-free i-Lestari Account 2 withdrawal scheme to provide members with some measure of financial relief.
EPF said the facility was one of the initiatives introduced in response to the difficult times last year brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The measure was aimed at helping members and employers cope with cash-flow issues following the Movement Control Order from March 18 to May 12 last year when most economic sectors were closed.
Other measures included allowing members to lower their mandatory statutory contribution to EPF savings to seven per cent from 11 per cent, effective April to December last year.
EPF also ensured that employers were able to sustain their costs and continue to retain their employees by offering the Employer Covid-19 Assistance Programme (e-CAP), specifically targeted at small- and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs).
e-CAP allows eligible SMEs flexibility to apply for a deferment and restructuring of the employer’s share of EPF contributions, which benefited 13,090 employers with a cumulative value of RM84.95 million.
The programme was introduced to assist SMEs manage their cash flow, as well as help them in fulfilling their obligation to pay their portion of EPF contributions.