PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian government has announced that members of pension fund Employees Provident Fund (EPF) can withdraw up to RM500 (S$164) a month, RM6,000 over 12 months.
The EPF is generally akin to Singapore's CPF pension fund.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, in tabling the 2021 budget in Parliament on Friday (Nov 6), said the withdrawal from Account 1 of their savings was to assist EPF members who lost their jobs.
He said it was expected to lighten the financial burden of some 600,000 affected members.
"It is projected that the total payment for Account 1 withdrawals will involve RM4 billion," he said.
Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul said eligible members could apply beginning January next year.
The Prime Minister had recently announced that the government was studying suggestions to allow certain contributors, such as laid-off workers, to withdraw funds from Account 1 of the EPF.
The government has already relaxed the rules twice this year by lowering the monthly EPF contribution by workers from 11 per cent to 7 per cent, and allowing so-called "i-Lestari withdrawals" of RM6,000 from Account 2 of EPF members.
The withdrawal facility for Account 2 started on April 21 this year.
The government's previous moves got people talking, with experts saying that while the move may deplete savings, it might help with the economy.