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Malaysia emphasises the need for greater retirement support & social security for senior workers

Malaysia emphasises the need for greater retirement support & social security for senior workers

"Investing in social protection systems is crucial for the overall wellbeing of our society and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind", EPF Chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir has affirmed.

YAB Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim, officiated the 11th International Social Wellbeing Conference 2024 (ISWC 2024) on 4 June 2024 in the presence of EPF Chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Zulqarnain Onn, Cabinet Ministers, senior government officials, and members of the EPF Board and Investment Panel. 

Malaysia's EPF Chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir, and Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Bin Ibrahim have recently highlighted the need for a stronger social protection system in Malaysia.

Speaking at the 11th International Social Wellbeing Conference 2024 (ISWC 2024) on 4 June 2024 (Tuesday), Tan Sri Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said: "The importance of building a comprehensive and sustainable social protection system has never been more urgent. 

"Investing in social protection systems is crucial for the overall wellbeing of our society and it is our collective responsibility to ensure that no one is left behind." 

According to a press release by the EPF, by 2043, 14% of Malaysia's population will be over 65, classifying it as an aged nation. By 2060, the ratio of working-age adults to elderly will drop from 10:1 in 2020 to 3:1. 

Tan Sri Ahmad Badri shared that the goal for EPF in 2024 is to address the various issues and challenges related to ageing and retirement, focusing particularly on ensuring retirement income security.  

He noted that the EPF understands that a comprehensive approach is crucial to meet the diverse needs of the entire population.  

"Such reforms would not only strengthen the existing system but also ensure greater inclusivity and security for our citizens," he added.  

Chairman Tan Sri Ahmad Badri stated that although increased longevity signifies progress, the demographic shift will pose challenges for Malaysian society, especially in healthcare, aged-care facilities, and retirement income security. 

“A major challenge is the shifting employment landscape in the country, which is increasingly moving towards informal employment through gig work and self-employment. 

“This growing segment, consisting of nearly 4mn workers, is at a greater risk of poverty in old-age due to the lack of mandatory contributions to formal pension and retirement programmes,” he said.  

He added that to address some of these challenges, the Government has aided and boosted the retirement savings of the informal sector through i-Saraan, encouraging voluntary contributions to the EPF. 

Speaking on the topic as well, as cited by Bernama, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said: "It is time for Malaysia to embrace serious reforms in its pension and retirement framework to ensure financial security and equity for all Malaysians.” 

PM Anwar also highlighted that, in a recent survey, 26.1% of respondents aged 60 and above opt to continue working until their health deteriorates, as they face challenges in achieving income security to finance their retirement needs.  

He noted that the elderly population is more vulnerable to poverty than the average Malaysian, with only 29% of Malaysians having a pension or pension-like income during retirement. 

Looking ahead, the EPF is seeking new ways to enhance its scheme to better serve the informal sector, it was noted. For instance, a recent initiative was the restructuring of EPF accounts for members under 55, offering greater flexibility, and allows members to save for retirement while maintaining access to liquid savings for unexpected emergencies. 


READ MORE: FAQs on KWSP's restructuring of members’ accounts starting 11 May 2024

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