On 2 December 2020, the Employees Provident Fund (“EPF”) announced the criteria and eligibility for a new scheme, i-Sinar. i-Sinar is an initiative that allows employees to prematurely withdraw their EPF savings in order to aid in cash flow during the difficult economic times posed by the COVID-19 crisis.

What are the application criteria for i-Sinar?

  Category 1 Category 2
Criteria Member(s) of age 55 and below, who:

i) have not contributed to EPF for at least two (2) consecutive months prior to the time of application OR

ii) have suffered a reduction of their base salary by 30% and above from 1 March 2020 onwards.

Members who have not reached age 55 and who have experienced a reduction in overall income of 30% (and above) since 1st March 2020. Total income includes base salary and other benefits such as allowances and overtime.

Requirements

No documents are required to be attached when submitting the application. Approval is done automatically based on EPF’s internal data.

Supporting documents required:

1. Pay slips before and after income reduction AND

2. Notice of termination or deduction of allowances and/or overtime claims

If the above documents cannot be submitted, any other supporting documents such as bank statements or employer confirmation letters will be considered.

Date of application

Application opens from 21 December 2020.

Application opens from 11 January 2021 and closes on 30 June 2021.

 

How do I apply for i-Sinar?

i-Sinar applications may be made online at isinar.kwsp.gov.my. Before applying to i-Sinar, prospective applicants are encouraged to:

  1. register their mobile phone number at the EPF branch or kiosk to enable the reception of the Transaction Authorisation Code (TAC);
  2. update their information via the application or register for an i-Akaun portal;
  3. ensure that the bank account provided to EPF during registration is still active and not operating as a joint account.

 

How much can I withdraw under i-Sinar?

The amount that a member can withdraw under i-Sinar depends on their Account 1 balance:

Account 1 Balance: RM100,000 and below Account 1 Balance: Above RM100,000
Maximum withdrawal of RM10,000

(Subject to a minimum savings balance of RM100 in the account to retain EPF membership)

Maximum withdrawal of 10% of Account Savings

(Subject to a maximum amount of RM60,000)

1st month payment of up to a maximum of RM5,000. 1st month payment of up to a maximum of RM10,000.
The remaining payment is a minimum of RM1,000 per month. The remaining payment is a minimum of RM1,000 per month.
Payment made for up to 6 months. Payment made for up to 6 months.

 

When will the payments be made to me?

  1. Payments are made monthly in accordance with the amount and period applied for.
  2. For category 1, the first i-Sinar payment will be made by mid January 2021.
  3. For category 2, the status of the application will be informed to the applicant within 2-3 weeks from the date of application. The payment will be made before the end of the following month after approval is given.


Some individuals do not have a fixed income (eg: freelancers, working in the gig economy, self-employed). Are they eligible under i-Sinar?

Yes, they would be considered under Category 2 if their total income has decreased by at least 30%. They are required to provide supporting documents such as bank statements or any other records that would show their income before and after the decrease.  This is the example given by EPF:

Ali is a trader at a market. His income has been affected since April 2020. He applied for i-Sinar on January 2021. The bank statements that he needs to produce are for the following months:

  • Pick 1 month before the income decrease (1 month in the period of 12 months between April 2019 and March 2020); and
  • Pick 1 month after the income decrease (1 month after April 2020 until January 2021)

 

Where can I get more information about EPF i-Sinar?

Please visit the official site of i-Sinar at https://isinar.kwsp.gov.my/ or get in touch with EPF for more information.

 

NB: This article is updated as of the date of publication stated above. As this situation is novel and the government’s response to the outbreak is continuously developing, this article may not necessarily include updates or developments after this date. In situations of doubt, you are advised to check for updates directly with the government authorities.

***

This article was written by Donovan Cheah with assistance from Tiffany Chin (Intern). Donovan has been named as a Recommended Lawyer for Labour and Employment by the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, and he has also been recognised by Chambers Asia Pacific and Asialaw Profiles for his employment law and industrial relations work.

Donovan & Ho is a law firm in Malaysia. Our practice areas include employment law, dispute resolution, tax advisory and corporate advisory.  Have a question? Please contact us.

 

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