Examining i-Sinar and i-Lestari Withdrawals Among Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Members During COVID-19 Crisis
Muhammad Amirul Ashraf Abd Ghani, Halimah Awang, Nur Fakhrina Ab. Rashid, Tan Lih Yoong, Tan Chin Lung, Yamunah Devi Apalasamy, Kama Firdaus Subbahi, Norma Mansor
Social Wellbeing Research Centre, University of Malaya
To cope with the economic hardship induced by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has allowed for withdrawals from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) retirement savings account. This paper explored the impact of COVID19 on the employment and income status of EPF members prompted them to make early withdrawals from their retirement savings through the i-Sinar and i-Lestari schemes as well as usage of withdrawals. The nonprobability convenience sampling technique, specifically the snowball technique managed to capture 2,061 respondents via an online survey. Logistic regression revealed younger respondents, those earning a lower income, and those experiencing income reduction were more likely to utilise both schemes compared to their counterparts. Although most withdrawals were put to good use, it raises concern as the early withdrawals can bring negative consequences to individuals, taxpayers, and the government in future. Findings from this study can serve as a useful input in suggesting some improvements towards the EPF retirement savings scheme.
Keywords: COVID-19, Employees Provident Fund, savings, withdrawals,spending pattern