• Wartawan Nabalu News


From left: Artobelly Evali, Darrel Abdullah, Joseph Jekili and Debbie Baidin.

28 Feb 2021

By Ilona Andrew

KOTA KINABALU: While the move to auto-approve i-Sinar withdrawal is praised, claiming it as the government's 'daring and historic' move to help the rakyat just does not sit right with some people.

Those who are self-employed and do not contribute, or have never contributed, to the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) are still grappling to stay afloat as they cannot benefit from the i-Sinar initiative.

“I-Sinar helps some to recover from the financial struggles but how about those who are self-employed and never contributed to EPF? Surely the government cannot think of this as its way to help the rakyat because it’s not even the government’s funds, it is the people’s own money.

“This is like us standing up on our own without the help of the government since all it does is remove the conditions to withdraw the money – our money, our own sweat and tears!

“I-Sinar may be a ray of light to some, but the government should know better that not everyone is an EPF contributor,” Artobelly Evali said when contacted by Nabalu News.

Artobelly Evali

While he agreed for all conditions to be removed for the i-Sinar facility, he said the government, on the other hand, should come up with some financial assistance from its own funds.

The 27-year-old also opined that digging into one’s own EPF money will only cause long-term damage that would inflict upon the people’s retirement nest egg later.

“The money is intended to ease our retirement later, but the damage is done, and I can only hope that the government would find a way to help recover our retirement money,” he said.

Another local who had wished that the government offered financial assistance, apart from introducing i-Sinar, is Darrel Abdullah who lost his job as an aircraft interior cleaner more than half a year ago due to the pandemic.

Although he felt grateful for the opportunity to withdraw his EPF savings which have helped him start an online business, he expressed sympathy for those who cannot benefit from i-Sinar.

“Even for myself, I can only obtain a small amount since I’ve just started working two years ago. There is not much in my EPF savings account, but it could at least help me start a small online business.

“It’s still a bit hard for me since the money is not enough, so I cannot imagine how those who do not have EPF and Socso benefits to survive this pandemic. Therefore, there is a need for the government to provide more financial assistance to those in this group,” he said.

The lad from Kuala Penyu also hoped that the government would do something to help recover the EPF savings intended for retirement that was withdrawn for survival purpose.

Joseph Jekili, 38, also agreed that the government should be using its own fund to assist financially affected citizens during this trying pandemic time instead of resorting to EPF savings withdrawal.

Joseph Jekili

He said he had no choice but to withdraw some of his retirement savings after being retrenched from his job in the airline industry back then.

The i-Sinar withdrawal process was easy for me because there were not many requirements, such as supporting documents. for those unemployed.

“But the approval should be automatic since the beginning as many were struggling financially, especially those who lost their jobs or source of income,” said the man from Penampang.

“However, I do not agree that we have to withdraw our own retirement savings for this purpose. The government should be the one to provide financial assistance from its own funds.

“I hope the government would od something to help us recover our EPF savings. RM10,000 (withdrawal amount) is not a small amount,” he added.

Meanwhile, Debbie Baidin, a housewife from Papar, said apart from financial assistance, those who do not benefit from i-Sinar but wish to start a small business as she did with her EPF savings can try applying for loans from agencies like Amanah Iktihar, Yayasan Usaha Maju and Tekun.

Debbie Baidin

She said her EPF money was not enough as she only worked and contributed briefly before becoming a fulltime housewife.

"To help financially impacted citizens, especially those who hardly had enough in their EPF savings, the government should introduce more financial assistance to cushion the financial impacts of Covid-19," she asserted.

While she concurred with the government for removing all conditions for the application, she expressed concern over those who made the withdrawal and spent it carelessly.

“My advice for those who have withdrawn their EPF money, please use it wisely and accordingly. That money is meant to help us survive and be kept as an emergency fund should the economy worsens.

“I hope in the nearest future, the economy will recover, and Covid-19 be gone so that we can live like how we used to so that the government can do something to help us recover our EPF savings,” she noted.