Saturday June 16, 2012
Workers want EPF option
By JOSEPH KAOS Jr
PETALING JAYA: Private sector employees who are over 50 want the option of withdrawing their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings at 55 should the retirement age be raised to 60.
Many need their savings for pressing needs such as their children’s education and elderly parents’ medication while some feel they deserve the flexibility of choosing when they can withdraw their savings.
“Those who are above 50 should be given the option to withdraw their EPF savings at 55 or 60 if the new retirement age law is passed. Many of us at this age have children studying in university and we have planned to use it for their education,” said 52-year-old engineer L. Lee.
“I support the decision to increase the retirement age to 60 because a lot of us are still productive at the age of 55. But I would prefer if the withdrawal age is not changed,” said Lee, who has a 20-year-old son in university and two other school-going teenage children.
Technical assistant Cecilia Peter, 53, also wants the option to withdraw her EPF savings at 55 as she has children aged 15 and 16 who are expected to enter university in a few years.
“If EPF cannot allow full withdrawal at 55, it should allow its members to withdraw two-thirds of their savings,” said Cecilia.
Zaranah Mohd, who is retiring in December, may not be affected because the new retirement age is only expected to take effect next year.
However, the 54-year-old analyst with a multinational company felt that EPF should not take away the withdrawal option at age 55 as she said many of those nearing retirement would have plans and commitments.
“My mind has been fixed with the knowledge that I am entitled to withdraw my savings at 55. Even if I do not intend to withdraw one lump sum at 55, I still want to know I am entitled to do so when I want,” said Zaranah, who has an 18-year-old son who is about to enter college.
Currently, EPF members are entitled to withdraw their full savings at the age of 55 upon retirement, either in a lump sum or partially.
Members are also allowed to withdraw their savings in their Account II at the age of 50.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Donald Lim has hinted that EPF may consider allowing members to withdraw their savings at the age of 55.
The proposed Minimum Retirement Age Bill 2012 was tabled for first reading in the Dewan Rakyat last Wednesday by Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam.