Stop robbing workers retirement savings

PSM condemns any move by the Government to allow laid-off workers to withdraw funds from Account 1 of their Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF). This is absurd. Account 1 is clearly meant for retirement and one can only withdraw under strict regulations after they have reached 50, 55 or 60. With better/costlier health care, most workers EPF savings will not be enough even after their retirement most of them having finished it in their first few years.

The Government should ensure that these funds are not touched. It is the role of the Government to ensure laid off workers are helped. PSM has already proposed a doable UBI (Universal Basic Income) which will ensure all persons denied an income because of the economic crisis due to the pandemic are safeguarded. Such ideas need to be explored and implemented rather than resorting to taking the little that people have for their retirement.

The Parliamentarians should not be short sighted and support such a move. The only persons whose incomes could be cut to cross subsidize are those super rich including our Parliamentarians. It is time they sacrifice their allowance and take a pay cut.

Allowing the withdrawal of EPF Account 1is tantamount to robbing workers of their retirement savings. Such a move will be a bad precedent and goes against the noble idea of why such a scheme exists in the first place. Why is everyone so eager to put their hands into the retirement funds of the workers when we should focus on how to assist them.

S. Arutchelvan
PSM Deputy Chairperson

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