PERIKATAN Nasional (PN) chief whip Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan has described as “misleading” the Finance Minister’s statement that contributors to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) were given the opportunity to use their savings as collateral for bank loans.
The Kota Bahru MP and former Energy and Natural Resources Minister further claimed that the statement of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim who is also the Prime Minister breaches the EPF Act 1991.
In this regard, he called for Anwar to be brought before the Parliament’s Rights and Freedoms Committee.
“The motion regarding the matter was previously brought by Machang MP Wan Ahmad Fayhsal Wan Ahmad Kamal but unfortunately it was rejected by the Speaker’s office of the Dewan Rakyat,” Takiyuddin told a media conference at the Parliament lobby.
“The EPF Act clearly states that the contribution cannot be used as collateral in the bank to make a loan.”
During the PM’s Question Time (PMQT) on March 21, Anwar told the Dewan Rakyat that the government will utilitise Islamic financing loan method to facilitate emergency loans made with EPF saving as collateral. This, according to Anwar, will ensure that service cost is kept at a minimal.
Such measure came about following repeated calls from the Opposition to allow further withdrawals at time when 51.5% or a total of 6.67 million of EPF members under the age of 55 had savings below the RM10,000 level as of end-2022.
The number increased by 9.7% or 591,000 compared to the same period in the preceding year.
Prior to this, PN MPs have staged an en masse walk-out from the Dewan Rakyat to protest the action of speaker Datuk Johari Abdul in rejecting the motion by Wan Ahmad Fayhsal to be debated.
This, according to Takiyuddin who was the previous de facto law minister under the backdoor Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s administration, served as a sign of protest when the proposal regarding the targeted withdrawal of EPF money was disallowed.
He further justified that the people have long been waiting for the government’s explanation about the proposal but to no avail.
Meanwhile, Wan Ahmad Fayhsal said he has submitted a motion about the matter in writing to the Speaker’s Office at the end of last March to allow the motion to be discussed.
Moreover, he was also awaiting a written response from the Finance Minister but none was forthcoming.
“I want to ask the government what is the plan it has in mind because contributors are not allowed to withdraw their savings in the EPF on a targeted basis,” he pointed out. “As the people are awaiting the government’s decision, they are also keen to follow a debate on the matter but this never materialises.” – April 3, 2023