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By Michael Mackey
May 21—Officials with Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund have declined to be drawn out on how the results of a members consultation exercise will affect initiatives to improve the working of the fund.
“Unfortunately, I do not have the information as requested,” an EPF official told Bloomberg BNA. “If we have more information to be shared, we will make the necessary announcement.”
“The consultation exercise has provided us with valuable insights in terms of obtaining feedback from different stakeholders groups,” EPF’s chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said in a May 18 press release. “This information can assist us in our plans to engage with the government and to look at the best way of implementing the initiatives.”
Some 96,448 people took part in the exercise, voting on four separate initiatives.
“For Initiative One, increasing members’ retirement savings, 94.4 percent (91,047 out of 96,448) of EPF members chose Option 2, which entails retaining the full withdrawal age of 55, while new contributions from age 55 to 60 can only be withdrawn at 60,” EPF said in a May 18 statement on the results of the consultation exercise.
About three-quarters of respondents (74.6 percent) agreed to initiative two, which would align minimum contributions with minimum wage legislation.
Initiative three, which allows for extending dividend payments from age 75 to 100, was supported by 61.3 percent of responding members. This would allow participants to keep their savings with the EPF after they retire.
Initiative four, agreed to by 71 percent of respondents, proposed allowing EPF members to switch to a Shariah-compliant retirement savings program from the existing retirement savings scheme based on ethical investment guidelines.
“There is demand for a Shariah-compliant retirement savings by our members,” Shahril said. “Based on the number of responses from the consultation, we are confident that the take-up rate for the Shariah-compliant retirement savings scheme will be encouraging for both Muslim and non-Muslim members.”
About two-thirds (65.7 percent) of respondents to the survey were aged 40 or below with just under a quarter (24.9 percent) aged 41 to 49 and fewer than a tenth age 50 or above.
“This demonstrated that younger members are increasingly interested in actively taking charge of their future retirement planning,” EPF said.
Respondents were overwhelmingly from the private sector (83.1 percent), one in eight (12.1 percent) from the government and the remainder self-employed.
“Gender representation reflected the composition of the current Malaysian workforce with a 57.6 percent and 42.4 percent split between male and female respondents,” EPF said.
While EPF stressed the reliability of its findings, which it said had a 95 percent confidence level and a 0.35 percent margin of error, Shahril did not elaborate on how member preferences will change the fund’s future operations.
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Mackey in Bangkok at correspondents@BNA.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Rick Vollmar at firstname.lastname@example.org
The EPF press release is available at http://www.kwsp.gov.my/portal/en/news-listing-page.
For more information on Malaysian HR law and regulation, see the Malaysia primer.
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