Monday, September 22, 2014

MALAYSIA:::260,000 EPF accounts earn zero dividends

KUALA LUMPUR: Several million ringgit in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts of some 260,000 contributors aged above 75, have been earning zero dividends.
Whether it is known to them or not, the EPF has since 2008 stopped paying dividends to account holders once they turn 75.

EPF corporate affairs unit head Nik Affendi Jaafar, who confirmed the existence of the policy, said despite this, some 260,000 members have retained their money in the fund.
"This policy should be reviewed immediately as it is an 'unfair' policy," said former Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) president Tan Sri Zainal Rampak when asked by theSun for his views on this recent discovery.
"Why should EPF stop paying dividends just because the account holder is 75 or older?" asked a bewildered Zainal, who said he is unaware of the policy.
"I am very sure most EPF contributors are also in the dark about this," said Zainal, who called on EPF to continue paying dividends to all contributors irrespective of their age, and more so if they are old and still working and contributing.
"EPF uses the contributors' money to invest and gain much more. We all know that the government uses funds from EPF for the nation's development. They owe the workers for this."
"In fact, beyond just revoking this absurd and discriminatory policy, the EPF should retrospectively credit back all the unpaid dividends to the accounts of the affected senior citizens since 2008," Zainal said.
EPF paid out dividends of 5.8% for 2007, 4.5% for 2008, 5% for 2009, 5.8% for 2010, 6% for 2011, 6.15% for 2012 and 6.35% for last year.
"Do the EPF top people understand what social security protection is?" asked Zainal, adding that there are still many people who have to work past the age of 75, some even up to 80 because they need social security.
"What about them?" he asked, stressing that money saved by the workers in EPF is for their old age or retirement, and dividends should continue to be paid to them, just like any other member who maintains an account in EPF.
"MTUC representatives sit on the EPF board ... they should have rejected this policy," said Zainal, who also urged all lawmakers and MPs to reject and reverse the policy.
MTUC president Mohd Khalid Atan, who is among those who sit on the EPF board, said they are also "unaware" of this policy.
EPF had earlier confirmed that no dividend is paid to contributors from age 75 onwards and urged members not to keep their money in the fund beyond that age.
Meanwhile, in explaining the policy, Nik Affendi said EPF contributions are meant to act as a retirement fund and not a savings account.
Nik Affendi said as of July this year, EPF had about 14 million members, of which slightly less than half – 6.57 million, are considered "contributing members."
EPF contributions are mandatory from both employers and employees until the member turns 60, after which contributions by employers are at half the rate, until the employee reaches age 75.
Beyond that, Nik Effendi said there is no compulsion for contributions by either employer or employee but if deductions and contributions are made, the money will be credited to the members' account.
However, no dividend will be paid.
"Those reaching age 75 should withdraw their funds and finance their retirement with their money and spend it wisely," he said.

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