If civil servants can be helped, why not others?
Published on: Sunday, January 23, 2022
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MOST Malaysians don’t have enough in their nest egg to retire mainly due to bad policies and low wages.

Some sought the help of a former prime minister, as more than 50,000 signed an online petition.

The former PM said EPF could recover within “a year or two” after the pandemic and listed steps to achieve it.

Increasing the contribution from employers is easier said than done as it increases costs and reduces profits.

It would adversely affect small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which I believe most of those who requested the withdrawal are staff from the SMEs.

Nevertheless, here are some proposals regarding the issue.

Despite the RM115 billion total emoluments for the civil service, or about half of the operating expenditure allocation for 2022, the government can still afford to give 2.3 million civil servants (including pensioners) a one-off special financial assistance —same as what was done in 2021.

I believe it can do the same to the people who are requesting this one-off payment, which may not even be 2.3 million people. Remember, civil servants still have their jobs.

Malaysian banks can give more assistance and contribute. According to a report, the sector continued to display resilience in 2021 and performed better than 2020 despite persistent economic headwinds, prolonged movement restrictions, moratoriums and repayment assistance.

Insurance companies can also give more assistance and contribute. Findings from Deloitte’s 2022 insurance industry outlook shows accelerated growth in 2022.

Global outlook foresees the above trend in premium growth with projected growth of 5.8 per cent annually over the next decade.

The Panama, Paradise and Pandora Papers showed funds kept in offshore financial centres were estimated at RM1.8 trillion from 2004 to 2014. For illicit capital flight, Malaysia ranks fifth in the world.

These are mostly accumulated wealth evading government tax. Assuming, one per cent is brought back, we have RM18 billion that can be distributed.

This is the time to help Malaysians and boost the economy. Offer a Special Voluntary Disclosure Programme like what was offered for eligible taxpayers a few years ago. We have politicians and heads of government agencies who are multi-millionaires who can contribute.

In 2020, there were around 606 ultra-high net worth (net worth of more than US$30 million) individuals in Malaysia and it was forecast to increase to around 801 in 2025.

This is the time for Keluarga Malaysia to help each other and donate.



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