The Borneo Post (Sabah)

RM18.1 bln i-Lestari withdrawal to date

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KUALA LUMPUR: The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said to date, a total of RM18.1 billion has been withdrawn by 5.16 million members under the i-Lestari facility, which was among the immediate measures undertaken by the fund amid the challengin­g situation in 2020 due to the pandemic.

It stepped in to help members and employers cope with cash flow issues following the Movement Control Order from March 18 to May 12, 2020 when most economic sectors were closed.

“The EPF was one of the first pension funds in the world to provide assistance to its members during the pandemic, by rolling out the hasslefree i-Lestari Account 2 Withdrawal Scheme to provide members with some measures of financial relief,” its Chairman, Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said in a statement on Saturday. Other measures included allowing members to lower their mandatory statutory contributi­on to EPF savings to 7.0 per cent from 11 per cent, effective April 2020 to December 2020.

The 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 (eCAP), specifical­ly targeted at small and medium enterprise­s (SMEs). eCAP allows eligible SMEs flexibilit­y to choose 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.

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