Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund approved 19.6 billion ringgit ($4.8 billion) in hardship withdrawals under a program announced in mid-November allowing participants hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic to tap their retirement accounts.
That total amounted to just over 2% of the Kuala Lumpur-based fund's total assets of 941.8 billion ringgit as of Sept. 30.
An EPF news release Wednesday said the fund had approved 2.5 million out of a total of 3.88 million applications under its new i-SINAR program, which opened for submissions on Dec. 21. The program allows participants to tap their Account 1 retirement savings balances.
Account 1 garners 70% of the monthly contributions employees and their employers make, while the remaining 30% goes to participants' Account 2 totals — which can be tapped for a broader range of financial needs, including housing and education.