Madeline Berma: Find amicable solution for EPF contribution

Dr Madeline Berma

By Peter Sibon

KUCHING, May 4: Both employees and employers have to find an amicable solution on matters concerning contributions to the Employees’ Providence Fund (EPF), said Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia Dr Madeline Berma.

She believed the matter needed to be addressed urgently as the country is now on conditional movement control order (CMCO), whereby most businesses resume operations today.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has created unprecedented economic havoc worldwide, affecting billions of people.

“We have to look at the big picture. Employees need employers and vice-versa but during this economic crisis, the employers have the upper hand. So, this is not the time for employees to make demands, which the employers could not afford.

“We just can’t kill the goose that lays the golden egg,” she said when contacted.

Madeline cautioned that it was not easy for employers to simply dismiss their employees, especially the skilled and semi-skilled workers during the current economic downturn.

“Don’t forget, employers may have incentives from the government to provide employment but how long could they stay afloat?” she said.

Madeline was commenting on the debate between the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) and Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) about the quantum employers should contribute to the employees’ EPF.

MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan was reported as saying that it was proposing a 5 per cent EPF contribution for employees from the current 12-13 per cent, due to the economic downturn caused by the MCO.

Shamsuddin insisted that employers should not be burdened with higher EPF contributions for employees in order to stay afloat.

He said the lower EPF contributions would allow most employers in Malaysia, where 98 per cent are small-medium enterprises (SMEs), to sustain operations. About two-thirds of these micro-businesses employ not more than five workers.

Shamsuddin revealed that big corporations in Malaysia consisted of only 2 per cent of employers in the country, whereby their number is less than 1,000.

Sarawak MTUC secretary Andrew Lo argued that employers should maintain the current EPF contribution of 12-13 per cent as studies found out that most workers in Malaysia do not have enough savings upon their retirement. — DayakDaily