Some rural folk can’t make online withdrawals, EPF told

The Employees Provident Fund has been urged to work closely with village heads or community leaders to ensure that rural people can access its facilities.

KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah Human Rights Centre has criticised the government for apparently ignoring the difficulties some rural people would have in making online withdrawals from their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts.

A spokesman for the group, Mahirah Marzuki, pointed out that many people living in far-flung places, especially in Sabah, do not have internet access.

She was commenting on an EPF advisory telling members to apply for RM500 withdrawals through the i-Akaun app or e-mail.

EPF said yesterday that its branches and contact management centres were closed until April 14 in keeping with the movement control order (MCO).

Mahirah Marzuki

Even among the rural folk who could go online, Mahirah said, many would not know how to configure their devices to make their withdrawals or to use their withdrawals to make online purchases while the MCO is in force.

She accused the government of being “urban-centric” and said it should have been more cognisant of the difficulties faced by rural people, especially those in the Sabah backwaters.

Vehicles making their way through a jungle to reach a town in Sabah.
Patrick Sindu

She suggested that EPF work closely with village heads or community leaders to ensure that rural people could avail themselves of its facilities.

“A mobile EPF team could attend to the needs of these people so that cash can be given to them,” she said.

Human rights and consumer activist Patrick Sindu agreed with Mahirah and suggested that EPF use the help of state welfare departments.

He also urged communications authorities to consider giving internet access to every part of Sabah.