KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 18 – Tasek Gelugor MP Wan Saiful Wan Jan has suggested that private retirement schemes, including the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), offer free health insurance as an incentive to encourage old-age savings.
The Opposition MP from Perikatan Nasional (PN), in his debate on the 2024 Budget last Monday, said the government should have incentives to motivate people to voluntarily set aside funds for retirement, rather than imposing mandatory savings, in preparation for an ageing society.
Wan Saiful criticised the federal budget for not placing enough emphasis on the nation’s readiness for an ageing society. Malaysia has already reached “ageing” nation status, with over 7 per cent of the population aged above 65. The country is expected to hit “aged” status – where 14 per cent of the population is aged above 65 – by 2044.
Wan Saiful, a former chairman of the National Higher Education Fund (PTPTN), pointed out that incentives provided through the National Education Savings Scheme (SSPN) during his tenureship, successfully led to a collection of over RM1 billion for the first time in PTPTN’s history. One of the incentives was tax exemption.
“I propose that in the 2024 Budget, the government introduces new incentives that can encourage savings for old age. An effective example of an incentive is tax exemption.
“Under the SSPN programme, tax exemption was indeed effective. I suggest that the government consider enhancing tax exemptions for private retirement schemes or EPF contributions in order to encourage savings for old age. I acknowledge that these incentives already exist, but they can possibly be enhanced,” Wan Saiful said.
He further suggested that the EPF and private retirement schemes could introduce additional incentives to promote savings for old age.
“Perhaps the EPF and the companies managing private retirement schemes could introduce free health insurance as an incentive for contributors, to further encourage them to save for their retirement. In summary, I urge the government to find ways to promote savings for old age in preparation for an ageing society,” Wan Saiful said.