Money held in the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) keeps snowballing every month from members’ contributions plus profits and gains and interests earned from EPF’s direct investments using members’ monies. This also includes money accrued from savings in bank deposits, etc, etc.
What about money gained from rentals and from buying and selling of pricey assets and up-market properties?
EPF is very rich, though the money is not theirs in reality.
The question is who will get to use and spend the bulk of money accumulated in EPF over half a century - is a mystery. If not by the members or contributors, then who?
EPF is not a private or a public company. The EPF is like a foundation or a board set up to look after workers’ money forwarded to EPF to safeguard until they retire, that is, when they can then make a cash withdrawal of the full amount. But in between, when they need money to pay for their children's education or to buy a house, they can of course apply for a cash withdrawal.
Usually a caretaker of the foundation is appointed to oversee that the money is in safe hands and, that a member knows who to see for some money.
Of course the caretaker is not supposed to use or to spend the money, except lend it to a third party to earn some interests to help pay for management and operational costs. So, at the end of the day, whatever money remains standing in the bank account it will be paid out in full in different proportions (shares) to the members, but based on what they have in their accounts.
But the caretaker will have to keep some money as a float or as contingencies to keep the operations going, just in case more money is needed.
In the old days that was how a foundation or board functioned. For your information, people will put their savings (money) with them if not with a reputable trustee. So, with extra cash on hand, by and large there are people who could use this money to enjoy a little better life, despite living on a shoestring budget.
But this is not the same or practised by EPF because the board keeps the money and only pays out ‘kacang putih’ or rather peanuts to the members.
This is seemingly daylight robbery and a con job.
In fact, EPF does not need to be concerned of its members running out of savings too soon or at all because if they pay out good money to the members instead of meagre amount yearly, then the members would have more or enough money to spend when they retire.
As it is now it is the EPF which has allegedly benefited from money contributed to the retirement board by its members.
Let’s face the fact, all money in EPF does not belong to the government, neither is it owned by EPF - actually it belongs to past and present members.
So, why not use the money as it is intended for, that is to provide funds for retirees so that they will have enough money to spend during their remaining years, in comfort.
LAU BING is a community activist and writer in Subang Jaya.- Mkini