Putrajaya allows RM500 EPF withdrawal, injects half-a-billion ringgit to MOH

PETALING JAYA: Some 12 million Malaysians will be allowed to withdraw RM500 every month from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) Account 2 for the next one year, Putrajaya announced today as part of measures to help the public cope with the financial impact of the Covid-19 restrictions.

The government said it expects total withdrawals of about RM40 billion.

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin also announced RM130 million for every state and RM500 million more to the health ministry as hospitals nationwide battle the Covid-19 virus, which has so far claimed 11 lives and infected more than 1,300 people in Malaysia.

Muhyiddin said the allocation for the health ministry would be used for the purchase of equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment for frontliners, as well as to ensure that laboratories are equipped for screenings.

“To expedite the purchase of critical items, the government has approved emergency procurement procedures,” he said at a press conference here.

He added that an additional RM100 million would be allocated for the ministry to hire 2,000 contract staff, especially nurses.

“Many nurses and hospital staff are exhausted at this time because they are forced to work day and night to screen for Covid-19 cases and treat those who have tested positive.

“I hope the hiring of new staff can be done as soon as possible to ensure all hospitals in the country have sufficient staff to handle the Covid-19 outbreak,” he said.

The RM130 million for individual states can be used to help small businesses, hawkers, Covid-19 patients and frontliners, he added.

He also said the suspension of monthly repayments to the National Higher Education Fund Corporation would be extended to six months, effective immediately until Sept 30.

He said the government is studying additional measures to aid the people during the crisis, adding that he might announce a more comprehensive economic stimulus and people’s aid package on March 30.

Muhyiddin also said foreigners would be charged for screening at government hospitals as only Malaysians are eligible for waivers.