Sarawak MTUC tells Najib to stop pretending to be a hero

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By Emma Victoria

THE Sarawak Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) today slammed former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for trying to be a hero for the low income group and those who lost their jobs due to Covid-19.

Its secretary Andrew Lo said the one-off EPF withdrawal proposed by Najib would only sacrifice the people’s retirement savings for immediate gratifications.

He said EPF must not be a cash cow to compensate for the government’s inadequacy and inability to provide assistance to the millions of poor workers, especially in the private sector.

Such withdrawals would mean that EPF would lose a great opportunity to take advantage of investing in high quality assets with low valuations.

This would impact future earnings and investment quality of EPF and compromise dividend pay outs. Most disturbing, it compromises the ability of EPF to serve its sole purpose – to provide for retirement savings of its contributors, he said.

“Najib Razak should stop pretending to be a hero for the low income group,” he said in a statement today,

Lo was commenting on EPF having to liquidate its assets and rebalance its portfolio to make billions of ringgit available to contributors in need of funds to lessen the financial turmoil caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides, those who need the withdrawals most, do not even have sufficient funds in their accounts.

“It is an embarrassing and a damming indictment of the low wage policy of the government for the past 60 years. In most countries, people get rich before they get old.

Malaysians get old before we get rich.”

Lo said unlike civil servants, ministers and Members of Parliament, private sector employees do not have a pension when they retire.

Hence, persistent digging into EPF coffers by the government over the past several years, such as reducing the rate of  employees’ contribution, allowing for various withdrawals, even for haj, has exacerbated the situation, he added.