Housewives’ EPF: Looking for ways around the law

Women’s minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says a meeting is to be held on how to provide EPF contributions for housewives. (Bernama pic)

KUANTAN: A special conference to fine-tune the issues on the proposed implementation of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contribution for housewives will be held in the second week of August, says Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

She said several relevant government agencies and departments would be at the special conference to carefully examine the technical aspects that prevented the implementation of the proposal.

“The EPF, the Social Security Organisation (Socso) and the relevant departments will discuss and find the best way to implement it as there are some technical issues such as Section 51 of the Employees Provident Fund Act and the Employment Act 1955 that prevented the implementation.

“In addition, we will also look into ways around the EPF Act that does not allow contributions from its members to be touched and we will ask the finance ministry’s view as its implementation also involves government funding,” said Wan Azizah, who is also the women, family and community development minister.

Wan Azizah said this at a media conference in conjunction with her visit to the Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom Children’s Home here today.

Section 51 of the EPF Act states that no amount may be assignable, transferable, liable to be attached, sequestered, levied upon, for, or in respect of, any debt or claim whatsoever. Even the Official Assignee was not entitled to or have any claim on any such sum or amount.

Mental illness needs serious attention

Wan Azizah also spoke about the problem of mental illness, when asked to comment on a recent murder case in which a mother allegedly slashed her 19-month-old son to death in a Felda settlement, apparently out of depression.

Wan Azizah said mental illness deserved serious attention, not just when there was a tragedy, including the loss of life.

“We need to address the problem from the grassroots level and relevant ministries, including the women, family and community development ministry, education ministry as well as the housing and local government ministry, should work together, as environmental factors also contributed to this problem,” she said.

According to the latest National Health and Morbidity survey, three out of 10 adults over 16 (years of age) suffered from some form of mental health issue. The survey also revealed mental illness is expected to be the second largest health problem in the country after heart disease.

Wan Azizah said Welfare Department statistics showed that the reported number of child abuse cases had increased almost every year, from 4,453 in 2015 alone, to 4,982 cases in 2016 and 5,422 last year.

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