62% of working-age M'sians not covered by any formal social protection, says EPF

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 8): The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has revealed that out of Malaysia's 22 million working-age population, 62% are self-employed, outside the formal labour force, and not covered by any form of social protection such as the EPF or government pension scheme.

"As a social protection agency, this is of great concern to us," EPF chairman Tan Sri Samsuddin Osman said at the International Social Security Conference 2018 today.

Recent statistics indicate that 70% of Malaysians do not have a "rainy day" fund for emergency expenses, he said.

Additionally, the low financial literacy rate of 36%, putting Malaysia behind Singapore and Taiwan, leads to poor spending decisions and subsequently high debt, Samsuddin said in his speech.

"We cannot look at social protection through a narrow lens… We must start recognising the critical role that social protection plays in national economic development.

"That is why we need to bring the conversation on the future of social protection to the national level. We cannot achieve a sustainable social protection system demanded by the country if there is no alignment and cohesion between the various ministries, agencies and statutory bodies," he said.