EPF i-Sinar – What is it and how does it affect your retirement?

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If you are an employed Malaysian and has been contributing to EPF (Employee’s Provident Fund), then you would have heard of the i-Sinar. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused hardship to Malaysians from all walks of life and the government has announced several packages and assistance to help and the i-Sinar is one of them.

Helping you financially

The i-Sinar initiative has been an issue that was talked about since the pandemic hit. It is a programme where members of EPF can choose to withdraw some funds out of their own accounts to help them weather the financial difficulties due to the pandemic. Members were first allowed to withdraw RM6,000 from their EPF accounts through the i-Lestari programme. This was done through an RM500 disbursement monthly starting from April 2020 (ends in March 2021).

Who is eligible and how much?

Originally, the i-Sinar programme was only catered to EPF members who suffered pay cuts or lost their jobs during the pandemic. They could decide to withdraw a certain amount of money from their Account 1. However, in February 2021, the government announced that the i-Sinar is now expanded to all EPF members. Do take note that:

THIS IS NOT A WITHDRAWAL!

The amount that you have withdrawn from your account need to be replenished in the future. Previously, your monthly contribution is accorded through a 70/30 division where 70% goes to Account 1 and 30% goes to Account 2. Once you have taken funds out through i-Sinar, 100% of your future monthly contributions will go into Account 1 to replenish that amount.

The rule of thumb is that you can withdraw up to 10% of what you have in your Account 1. The minimum amount that must remain in the account is RM100. Payment will be made over 6 months. As an applicant, you can decide:

  • The amount you wish to withdraw
  • The amount you wish you get in the first month and how much you wish to get every month.
  • The first payment can be as much as RM10,000 with which the rest of the amount will then be equally divided in the following months. Below is how this works.

Let’s say you have RM150,000 in your Account 1. That means you are eligible to withdraw up to RM15,000. You can choose to take RM10,000 in the first month. Hence, you will then receive a staggered payment of RM1,000 per month for the following 5 months (totalling RM15,000).

Now, you can however decide to take only RM5,000 on the first month with which you will then get RM2,000 per month for the next 5 months (totalling RM15,000).

The general advice here is that you should not touch your retirement savings unless it is absolutely necessary,. If you have emergency savings that can cover your expenses, then it is best to leave the money in EPF.

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