KUALA LUMPUR (June 9): The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) said it received total contributions of RM25.83 billion for the first quarter ended March 31, 2023 (1Q2023) — its highest quarterly amount to date.
On a yearly basis, EPF said the RM25.83 billion was higher than the RM21.55 billion in 1Q2022. Both quarterly contributions were higher than the pre-pandemic amount of RM19.17 billion in 1Q2019.
In a statement on Friday (June 9), the pension fund said it saw new member registrations of 116,423, bringing the total number of EPF members to 15.79 million as at March 2023.
Out of that amount, EPF said a total of 8.45 million were active members, which now represent 50% of Malaysia’s 16.81 million labour force. "Active members" refers to members who contributed at least once in the last 12 months.
It said new employer registrations also showed a strong growth of 24,281 during the period, bringing the total number of employers registered with the EPF to 595,730.
“Malaysia’s steady recovery in labour market conditions and ongoing policy support helped the EPF to record a better active-to-inactive member ratio, which jumped from 51:49 in 1Q2022 to 53:47 in 1Q2023,” it said.
Despite the positive trend in membership growth and improving labour market conditions, EPF chief executive officer Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah said the fund remains concerned over the future wellbeing of the more than 40% of Malaysian workforce that are still not covered by any form of social protection.
“To address the matter, EPF is taking steps to enhance coverage of the country’s labour force through i-Saraan, which has been designed to allow workers in the informal sector or with no formal income to save for their retirement with EPF,” he said.
Based on EPF data, i-Saraan recorded new registrations of 62,952 throughout 1QFY2023, raising the total number of i-Saraan members to 997,659, representing a 67% increase from the 598,874 in 1Q2022.
On Friday, EPF also announced that it recorded a 3% year-on-year increase in investment income to RM15.16 billion for 1QFY2023, from RM14.77 billion previously.
Moving forward, EPF said it is not tempering its expectations, as it believes there are performing sectors that the fund can capitalise on.
Amir said it is essential for the EPF to consider the broader market dynamics, in order to comprehensively improve its prospects of providing a consistent dividend to its members.
The remaining quarter will see the EPF focusing on industries and sectors that are expected to recover after three years of the pandemic, which he added would result in higher labour demand.
Amir said the EPF will continue to enhance its capabilities to meet the evolving needs and expectations of members and employers, as well as build up on its portfolio performance.
“This commitment has been the driving force behind our sustained performance, as we remain guided by our long-term strategic asset allocation that has enabled us to achieve our mandate and strategic targets,” he said.