Johor Umno Youth slams PM over assistance for flood victims, calls for another round of EPF withdrawals

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JOHOR BARU, Dec 27 — Johor Umno Youth chief Mohd Hairi Mad Shah today hit out at Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob for failing to live up to the latter’s “Keluarga Malaysia” slogan in an effort to assist needy flood victims nationwide.

He pointed out that the RM1,000 one-off cash aid provided by the government to flood victims was insufficient and questioned its relevance.

“Pak Long, is the RM1,000 that big an amount,” Mohd Hairi posted on his Facebook page, using the Malay term of endearment for the eldest uncle.

Ismail Sabri is also an Umno vice-president and senior leader for the country’s biggest Malay nationalist party.

Mohd Hairi also appealed for the prime minister to allow another round of RM10,000 withdrawals under the i-Citra scheme from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

He called on Ismail Sabri, who is also the Bera MP, to listen to the hardship of the people, especially flood victims in need of the withdrawals as a means to rebuild their lives and livelihoods following the disaster.

“Please listen to the grievances of the people, as some need and some do not need this saving.

“Why is it so hard and difficult to help the people? I understand, we want to help those people to save for their old age, but today they are in dire need and find it hard to survive,” said Mohd Hairi, who has been consistent in championing EPF withdrawals to kick-start the economy after the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns.

Mohd Hairi also pointed out that in such times of emergency, civil servants are not as affected as those in the private sector.

He said it was not wrong for the needy flood victims, who are EPF contributors, to use their savings in order to carry on with their lives.

“If we help with RM10,000, will they use the money for a trip to London?” he questioned, adding that the withdrawal amount will mainly be used and circulated internally within the country.

Mohd Hairi, who is also the Johor Baru Umno Youth division chief, said he is not an economist nor a finance minister to explain the merit of such economic complexities.

“But being a businessman, I know that the EPF withdrawal sum that is used will most likely have a favourable return on investment which is a ratio between net income and investment,” he said.

Mohd Hairi also called for the government to be clear to the public on the usage of the EPF funds if it had been used by the previous Perikatan Nasional (PN) or Pakatan Harapan (PH) governments.

“People want to know too? Tell the people and don’t hide the facts,” he said.

Earlier, Umno Youth chief Datuk Dr Asyraf Wajdi Dusuki urged the government to allow another round of RM10,000 withdrawals under the i-Citra scheme from the EPF.

Yesterday, Ismail Sabri was reported saying that the government has no intention at the moment to allow those affected by the floods to make EPF withdrawals under the i-Citra scheme.

The prime minister said there was no need for EPF withdrawals as the government was offering various other forms of financial assistance to individuals and businesses to recover from the floods.

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