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Easing financial burden with i-Lestari withdrawal facility
Published on: Friday, May 22, 2020
By: The Star
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Kuala Lumpur: The i-Lestari withdrawal facility is meant to ease the financial burden of Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members and help them meet their basic monthly financial needs during the Covid19 pandemic. Below are some of the frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the facility:

Q: When is the effective period of i-Lestari withdrawal facility?

A: The i-Lestari withdrawal facility is effective from April 1, 2020, until March 31, 2021.

Q: What is the general concept of i-Lestari withdrawal facility?

A: The general concept of i-Lestari withdrawal is as follows: a) Withdrawal can be made from Account 2 only; b) Payment for withdrawal will be made monthly, on a recurring basis for the subsequent months, subject to number of monthly withdrawals one is entitled to, as per item (c); and c) The number of monthly withdrawals one is entitled to is calculated from date of receipt of approved application until the end of the validity period, that is, March 31, 2021. Example: i) If an approved application is received in April 2020, the number of monthly withdrawals one is entitled to is a maximum amount of 12 monthly withdrawals. ii) If an approved application is received in September 2020, the number of monthly withdrawals one is entitled to is seven months. iii) If an approved application is received in March 2021, the number of monthly withdrawals one is entitled to is one month.

Q: What are the eligibility criteria for members to apply for i-Lestari withdrawal facility?

A: Malaysian citizens, permanent residents and non-Malaysians aged 55 and below, and have savings in Account 2.

Q: When is the submission date for members to apply for i-Lestari withdrawal facility?

A: Members can submit the application for i-Lestari withdrawal between April 1, 2020, until March 31, 2021. All applications must be received by the EPF on or before March 31, 2021.

Q: What is the amount members are allowed to withdraw under the i-Lestari withdrawal facility?

A: The permitted amount under i-Lestari withdrawal facility ranges from a minimum of RM50 to a maximum of RM500 a month; this is subject to the amount of savings available in the member’s Account 2 when the monthly withdrawal is made. If the total savings in Account 2 is insufficient to cover the withdrawal amount requested for the month, the amount of savings transferred will be based on the available balance in Account 2.

Q: When will payment for successful applications be made to EPF members?

A: For withdrawal applications received in April 2020, payment will be made in May 2020. For withdrawal applications made after April 2020, payment will be made from the date the application is received by the EPF. Application for backdated payments is not allowed.

Q: Can application to change the monthly recurring amount to be withdrawn be made?

A: Presently, members are not allowed to change the amount of payment to be withdrawn after the application has been approved.

Q: What are the channels for submission of application for i-Lestari withdrawal facility?

A: The i-Lestari withdrawal application can be made on April 1, 2020, through the following channels: 1) i-Lestari Online on the EPF’s website at www.kwsp.gov.my; 2) Online (via e-Pengeluaran on Member’s i-Akaun); or 3) By post addressed to: Kumpulan Wang Simpanan Pekerja, Karung Berkunci No 220, Jalan Sultan 46720, Petaling Jaya Note: Please state (Attention to: i- Lestari) on the front of the envelope.

Members are advised to apply through the i-Lestari Online and e-Pengeluaran for faster turnaround. Manual submission sent via post will take a longer processing time. Withdrawal application for non-Malaysians can be made via post only.

Q: Why is the permissible amount for i- Lestari withdrawals limited to a maximum of RM500 monthly only?

A: The i-Lestari withdrawal facility is intended to ease the financial burden of members and help them meet their basic monthly financial needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. The maximum amount of RM500 a month is deemed as a reasonable amount as an additional source of income for members to meet basic financial needs.

Q: Why is the frequency of withdrawal limited to only once a month?

A: The withdrawal frequency is designed to supplement the monthly source of income to help members meet their monthly basic financial needs.

Q: Why is the effective period for i-Lestari withdrawal only one year?

A: The i-Lestari withdrawal facility is intended as a financial relief to assist EPF members during the current period of Covid-19 pandemic. The government will continue to monitor the development of the current situation and assess the efficacy of this facility from time to time. The financial impact of Covid-19 pandemic is expected to improve after this period.

Q: Are Muslim members obligated to pay zakat (tithe) on i-Lestari withdrawal?

A:The purpose of i-Lestari withdrawal facility is to help alleviate the financial burden of members affected by the Covid19 pandemic. Hence, the EPF’s Shariah Advisory Committee is of the view that Muslim members who make the withdrawal for the purpose of meeting their basic needs and their dependants such as food, clothing, shelter, education and health (hajah asliyah) are not obligated to pay zakat on the withdrawal made. While Muslim members who make the i-Lestari withdrawal, not for the purpose of meeting their basic needs and their dependants (not hajah asliyah), they are obligated to pay zakat at the rate of 2.5pc on the total withdrawal amount subject to nisab (the minimum amount of property or wealth that a Muslim must have before he is obligated to pay zakat) without the need to fulfil the haul (a one-year period [according to the Hijrah calendar] of asset under possession that is subject to zakat). Muslim members are advised to consult their respective state zakat authorities regarding zakat payment on EPF withdrawal.

 


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