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The Star, Star Publications (Malaysia) Berhad
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PETALING JAYA: More than 2,200 Malaysians renounced their citizenship and withdrew their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings in 2015.

In 2015, 2,206 EPF members took out a total of RM154.6mil before leaving the country, the EPF chief executive officer Datuk Shahril Ridza Ridzuan said.

This was up from the previous year, with 1,787 withdrawals totalling RM99mil in principal.

“Although it is a slight increase, it’s not too drastic,” he said yesterday.

Shahril said that the reduction in the statutory contribution from 11% to 8% provides a choice for depositors, who are able to make a decision for themselves based on their needs.

“What we’ve always been advising our holders is to keep their money invested for as long as possible because of the compounding dividend effect.”

“Members are free to opt back to the 11%. We have provided them an easy way to do so, and essentially it is the choice of each individual member. It’s very hard for us to over generalise the needs and wants of every member,” Shahril said.

He said while some people would benefit from the short-term cash boost over the next two years due to personal financial circumstances, there were people who would rather save more for the long-term.

Historically, he said about 50% of EPF members have opted to maintain their existing contributions.

“It is still too early to tell how many are opting to maintain their existing contributions.

“The great thing is its voluntary. You decide what you want to do with your own savings. What is important is that people make an informed decision for themselves and understand what’s best for them,” he said.

The move to cut employee contributions from 11% to 8% in a measure to boost consumer spending and hence, growth was announced during the recalibrated 2016 Budget late last month.

The reduction in employees’ contributions will be from March until December 2017.